Hambledon Classic Cuvée and Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2010 both scored more points than wines from Pol Roger, Veuve Clicquot and Taittinger when they were pitted against eight champagnes in a competition organized by Noble Rot magazine.
Hambledon Classic Cuvée, which beat many French fizzes
“English sparkling wine has been regarded as bit of a joke for years, but with similar chalky soils to some of France’s best vineyards, and big improvements in winemaking, we wanted to find out if the delicious wines we’d been drinking could now compete with leading champagnes,” says Dan Keeling, joint editor and co-founder of Noble Rot.
“We weren’t surprised to see that Hambledon and Nyetimber did so well; they’re both very intense and elegant, and make the case for England as the sparkling wine producing country to watch over coming years.”
The tasting, held at the Marksman Pub in Hackney, was judged by eminent wine critics Jancis Robinson, Neal Martin, Kate Spicer and Jamie Goode as well as Wine Car Boot founder Ruth Spivey, super-sommelier and restaurateur Xavier Rousset, and food specialists who included Telegraph columnist Stephen Harris from The Sportsman.
Tasters were asked to score the wines out of 20 and the results were then amalgamated to give each wine an average score. In the final table of results, Hambledon and Nyetimber led the field by a nose, closely followed by Pol Roger Brut Réserve NV and Taittinger NV but it was three champagnes that brought up the rear.
A wine from Wiston Estate in West Sussex came in at a very creditable sixth, with a closer examination of the individual judging marks showing that it was a very divisive wine, scoring the highest marks from some tasters and the lowest from others. This might be because while being a very accomplished wine, it’s a style with verve and edgy acidity that tends to separate drinkers.
The tasting is another boost for the English wine industry as its wines seek to compete on the export market and show that England really is a country that can produce world-class sparkling wine.
The full results and an analysis of the tasting will be published in the new issue of Noble Rot magazine on Monday.