Long the preserve of the French with their world-class Champagne, English sparkling wine is now really starting to make its mark. Here are five of the best – order a case now in time for your first summer parties


1 Danebury Vineyards 2009 “Cossack” Vintage Brut, Hampshire

Once a 19th Century racehorse training yard, Danebury’s seven acres of vines were planted in 1988 on sheltered, south facing fields and have been gaining them medals since. One of their best is the “Cossack” Vintage Brut, their award-winning premium vintage sparkling. Made from Auxerrois Blanc and Rulander grapes, the Cossack is fermented in the bottle and aged for up to five years on its lees. It takes its name from the Danebury trained 1847 Epsom Derby winner and has a floral nose, a fruit-driven palate and fresh and zesty finish. The company’s two delightful off-dry white wines Schonburger and Madeleine are also worth trying. For information and prices see their website.

2 Nyetimber 2009 Classic Cuvée, Sussex

Making waves by refusing to bottle an entire vintage when it didn’t meet their high standards, Nyetimber’s endeavour for finesse and perfection is something they take seriously. With eight sites over 152 hectares, they took their pick of the absolute best spots in West Sussex and Hampshire. The climate is perfect for slow ripening the grapes and they have devoted their vineyards to the holy trinity of Champagne vines – Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Cherie Spriggs, the wine and decision maker, employs all the best elements of the process – art, science, attention to detail and imagination. The Classic Cuvée has aromas of fresh melon with notes of bread, sweet pea flowers and vanilla, and apricot and bread flavours on a long finish.


3 Gusbourne 2010 Blanc de Blancs, Kent


Gusbourne’s sparkling wine

Before taking the reins at Gusbourne, winemaker Charlie Holland worked in Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the States, where he honed skills in the slow and measured patience of winemaking. Now with awards to his name and over 60 hectares across Kent and West Sussex to work with, Charlie Holland works with the Gusbourne team to produce a product that lives up to its promise of excellence. The Blanc de Blancs has had an extended lees ageing, giving a richness of buttered toast with those Chardonnay aromas of apple and citrus, and a well balanced palate with a gentle mousse. Bottles start at £37.90.


4 Camel Valley 2012 Pinot Noir Rosé Brut, Cornwall


Camel Valley’s 2012 Pinot Noir is attracting attention from experts

Boasting sundrenched slopes near the River Camel and traditional vineyard practices combined with modern winemaking techniques, the Camel Valley Vineyard has been working away in Cornwall since 1989. Bob (an ex-RAF pilot) and Annie Lindo bought a farm in the Cornish countryside for a change of pace and wondered whether the climate might be perfect for vines. After putting in decades of hard work the couple are seeing that their hunch was right – with international medals to prove it. This particular award-winning offering, the 2012 Pinot Noir Rosé Brut, is well-balanced with a strawberry nose, rich fruit flavours and a delicate, salmon colour. £26.95 a bottle or £24.26 if you’re getting 12.

5 Ambriel Blanc de Noirs NV, Sussex

This delicious drop hails from the Redfold Vineyards in West Sussex, where it’s grown on south facing slopes with views of the South Downs. The Blanc de Noirs is made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes, and disgorged on its lees for three years. It’s run by husband and wife team Charles and Wendy Outhwaite, who have a strong sense of their terroir and employ a philosophy to create wines that reflect it and the climate of a particular vintage. The Blanc de Noirs is a complex wine with initial lime and peach notes making way for honeycomb and brioche flavours. You can buy it off the website, with the starting price for a bottle at £27.50.

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