British Food Fortnight: Raise your glass to these top English sparkling wines

A glass of English bubbly is set to become a Brit staple – and with the British Food Fortnight taking place from September 17 to October 2, there couldn’t be a better time to champion the best of both worlds.

Especially with seasonal produce like oysters and crab lining our market stalls – both a brilliant match with a sparkling drink.

With suggested food and wine pairings, here’s how to start the festivities in style…

1. Ellercombe English Quality Sparkling Wine, England, £22, Sainsbury’s

(Sainsbury’s/PA)

Brightly bubbly on budget, this own-label bubbly offers characteristic flavors of green apple and citrus, complemented by sweet toasty notes and a hint of elderflower on the fresh, crisp finish. One for fresh seafood like steamed mussels or grilled mackerel with a squeeze of lemon.

2. Society English Sparkling Wine, NV, Sussex, £24, The Wine Society

(The Wine Society/PA)

Crafted for the world’s oldest wine club by Ridgeview – award-winning sparkling wine producer and among the early pioneers of English wine – these fresh, spirited bubbles combine appealing apple and lemon flavors with mineral undertones giving way to a finish zesty citrus. A perfect pairing with crispy breaded fish and chips with tartar sauce.

3. Langham Corallian Classic Cuvée NV, Dorset, England, £29.50, Langham Wine

(Langham Wine/PA)

Another frontrunner, Langham Winery was crowned 2020 Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year and head winemaker Tommy Grimshaw cites Corallian as a “vibrant, citrusy wine with a linear steely profile”. He says this is very well rounded with nice salinity and a long savory finish. A wine that “calls for fresh seafood,” his favorite being fresh native oysters served with a simple vinaigrette.

4. Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 2019, Cornwall, England, £36, Waitrose

(Waitrose/PA)

A superb, award-winning rosé, rated by drink critics as one of the best sparkling roses in the country. Crisp and lively, the aromas of wild strawberries with gooseberry fruit and balanced acidity keep it fresh and supremely enjoyable with delicate floral notes adding to its elegance. Delicious with poached salmon, watercress and tender new potatoes.

5. Corney & Barrow Brut Jubilee Cuvée 1952 Breaky Bottom Traditional Method 2014, East Sussex, England, £39.95, Corney & Barrow

(Corney & Barrow/PA)

Another premier wine that epitomizes a particular vintage, 2014 has been hailed as ‘exceptional’ and this special edition pays homage to the year the Queen ascended the throne. With a long maturation bringing depth and complexity, honeysuckle on the nose, buttery brioche and hints of creamy lemon mousse continue with a wonderful feeling of purity, well-balanced acidity and a long, clean finish. Try with a salad of warm goat cheese or creamy English blue cheese.

6. Henners Foxearle English Sparkling Brut 2016, Sussex, England, £39.99, virgin wines

(Virgin Wines/PA)

Another pukka vintage for English wines. Delicious aromas of freshly baked bread, juicy red apples with hints of lemon and peach, there is a saline citrus and apple freshness, with fresh acidity and hints of light, a lemon soufflé closing the finish. Think grilled Dover sole with parsley and garlic butter.

7. Wiston Estate Cuvée 2017, West Sussex, £41.99, real English drinks

(Real English Drinks/AP)

Gold medalist at the 2022 WineGB awards, expect a fragrant English orchard in a flute. Described as having tantalizing notes of nectarines, honey, toasted hazelnuts and brioche, it must have won over the judges with its “impressive depth and complexity” and “delicious smoothness on the finish”. We think of the fresh crab salad or the cocktail of langoustines with grilled slices of wholemeal bread.

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Shirley M. Pinder