Talking Wine – December 2018

It wasn’t long ago that the new English sparkling wine producer Rathfinny announced that it would be the largest vineyard in the UK by 2021. Now however the famous Chapel Down vineyard is extending its acreage by about 350 acres and it claims it will eclipse both Rathfinny (Sussex) and Denbies (Surrey). They will have the capacity to make over 1million bottles when the vines are mature .English sparkling wine can be sensationally good and Champagne sales are taking a dip as a result. The latest 2018 vintage should be large and stunning quality too. The producers just need to work to keep the prices controlled – to really take over the fizz mantel they need to undercut champagne.

However rather ironically Nyetimber, possibly the best known English wine, has just launched a 2010 rose fizz at £175 and a 2009 Brut at £150. The wines will only be made in exceptional vintages and the blend is likely to vary. It is named 1086 – a nod to the estates first ever mention in the Doomsday book. There have been a few special sparkling releases over the years and sold in shops such as Harrods or Hedonism where you will always find a buyer!

Am I alone in feeling it is rather obscene that Ronaldo spent £27,000 on two bottles of wine in a London Restaurant and didn’t even finish the second bottle! It wasn’t unusual in the boom times to hear of similar occurrences with some city boys celebrating deals to the tune of hundreds of thousands. However I would much prefer to see the money spent in a more productive and less self indulgent way and I’ve always argued that you don’t need to spend huge amounts to get a really good bottle if you know what you are doing.