I spent a few days in Cornwall last week and one of the things that always impresses me about the people who live there is their immense pride in all things Cornish.
I think this particularly applies to Cornish food and drink and is highlighted in the large number of farm shops in Cornwall you find dotted around the county all proudly flying the Cornish food flag.
British Food Fortnight – a celebration of all things British – ends on Sunday, October 6.
It got me thinking that we should take a leaf out of Cornwall’s book and really trumpet the fantastic produce we produce in these isles, not just for two weeks but the whole year round.
With that in mind, here are three English sparkling wines that have grabbed my attention recently.
Irresistible Eight Acres Sparkling Rosé NV, Kent (Co-op £18) is the first English sparkling rosé to appear on the Co-op’s shelves, which is a sure sign that English fizz is now being taken more seriously.
It is produced for the Co-op by Hush Heath Estate in Kent, and made from the classic Champagne grapes of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier.
It’s very pale in colour with some nice summer red fruits and a touch of lemon sherbet on the nose, followed by more red fruits and a reasonably long, dry finish.
This is great value for money for an English fizz, and would make a lovely aperitif. It’s a shame summer is over because this has ‘picnic wine’ written all over it.
Sticking with supermarket connections, Leckford Estate Brut 2014, Hampshire (Waitrose £26.99) is made from grapes grown in the Waitrose Vineyard on the Leckford Estate in Hampshire.
It is produced by Ridgeview, one of the the leading producers of sparkling wine in the country, so no lack of pedigree here.
It is altogether a little more serious than Eight Acres but not quite so much fun.
There is a lively, constant stream of small bubbles in the glass with aromas of autumn apples, freshly baked biscuits and some citrus, the palate has some richness with more apple fruit and very bright acidity before a long, flavoursome finish.
This is really very good and while drinking nicely now, it is still quite youthful if you would like to stick it away for another 12 months.
Oxney Estate, situated in East Sussex, is farmed completely organically, which is something of a rarity so far in the English wine scene. In fact, it is the largest organic vineyard in the country.
Oxney Estate NV, Sussex (oxneyestate.com £25) is made with the classic Champagne trio of grapes but also with some seyval blanc in the blend. The nose is really fresh with apple and pear and a little red fruit in the background, followed by a crisp mouth-feel with more apple fruit and brisk, zesty finish.
It is lovely to see an organic English fizz.