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Wine notes

Cheers for English quality

England is well known for making superb sparkling wines, and it has been showing off its best during English Wine Week.

And one of them is a most recent local release, the superb Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine from the highly–rated Albourne Estate.

It really is a classic example of the high quality that the English can produce. The estate is pretty excited about this wine and not without reason.

For the few who might not know Blanc de Blancs means basically white wine from only white grapes, in this case the classic Chardonnay.

The Chardonnay gives this seductive wine a tender touch, without the extra weight from the traditional other two grapes in the classic mix, the red Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This is a fantastic summer sipper, with the balance of a ballet dancer and matching refreshing acidity and seductive elegance.

English wines make a great surprise for guests, and they often compete for quality with France, notably RidgeView and Nyetimber in West Sussex but there are many others.

Albourne is up there in quality and has another unusual string to its bow. Try the estate’s White Pinot Noir, an unusual wine in that the skins of the red wine grape are pressed very delicately so that just a hint of pale pink emerges. It is just perfect well chilled on a picnic table.

The English are not afraid to tackle something more complex, and Albourne has an enticing Estate Selection blending Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Bacchus.

Don’t be deceived by the pale look of the estate’s solo Bacchus. It has great structure but retains a delicacy that marks it as a very attractive wine. With this quartet Albourne is showing just how far English wines have come.

Phil Dennett

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