Tuesday, 7 August 2012

English producers aping Champagne (?)....come off it!

The media -savvy Sam Lindo of Camel Valley made a big splash recently with his dig that  " English producers should stop aping Champagne". A minute's thought should convince any lover of great fizz that Sam's argument needs probing. For when top English sparkling producers (Ridgeview, Nye Timber, Coates & Seely, Herbert Hall) stick to the three classic champagne grapes, they are just acknowledging that, with 300 years experience, the Champenois still know best which sparkling grapes work best in a marginal maritime-influenced climate  - one which Southern England and the Marne share, most of the time.

enjoying great pinot at les artisans de champagne (april)

It is certainly hard to argue with Nick Hall's measured reply. " We want an 'Englishness' in our wine and I think that comes through terroir -but in our climate the building blocks have to be the three classic varieties, if we are to make really good wine. Top restaurants want to be able to distinguish English from Champagne so they have something different to offer - but they also want finesse and real quality." Could Dornfelder & Reichensteiner deliver the same sparkling dash and elegance as Chardonnay & the Pinots? I don't think so, much as I like German wine.

1 comment:

  1. yes & ..no

    champagne has used historically plenty of other varietals than meunier, chardonnay and PN..i produce champagne using pinot blanc , petit meslier & arbannes..pinot gris was also and still is ( but i dont have any) one of the historical varietal of champagne...english sparkling is starting from a blank slate..it might be the oportunity to re use some of the old varietals...