English sparkling wine has taken the world by a storm, despite the volumes still being quite small around 10 million bottles per year and planted hectares are currently around the same as in Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé in the Loire valley. These beautiful elegant traditional method wines have quickly earned their place among the top producers of traditional method sparkling wines of the world. Many times I have been in blind tastings with extremely talented tasters who have not been able to tell the difference between high quality English Sparkling wines and the wines of Champagne.
So how is this possible? There are three things which are key for the success of English Sparkling wines: Climate, soils and highly competent producers.
Climate change has been a blessing for English vine growers who now enjoy slightly warmer climatic conditions – reminiscent of Champagne in the 1980 and 1990s, with a long growing season allowing for additional ripeness and well-balanced alcohol. Less than 200 km separates Reims in Champagne from the south of Kent in England and they both enjoy quite similar climates perfect for growing Champagne grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir.
The south of England is blessed with ancient soils of Chalky, limestone and clay which are very similar to northern France. Millions of years ago, England and France were merely separated by a river which today has become the English Channel.
English producers have been quick to build up vine growing competence. England in fact started producing wine during Roman Times, however planting of grape vines really started to take off in the mid-1970s. In addition, the UK has been an important trading partner and importer of wines for the past 400 years. In fact, Champagne was originally sold primarily to England as a still wine. Almost 300 years ago, English importers discovered some of the still wines they imported started to ferment again in the bottle causing them to explode. Those that didn´t explode retained soft bubbles, which clever English marketeers sold to the English upper-class as something quite exclusive and exotic and hence the beginning of Champagne Sparkling wines.
Gusbourne: “Makers of Exceptional English Wine”
Gusbourne Estate er anerkjent for å være en av Englands beste musserende vinprodusenter og vant i 2017 “English Wine Producer of the Year” for tredje gang ved den internasjonale “Wine and Spirits Competition”. De produserer kun årgangsmusserende fra egne druer, noe som er ganske uvanlig i England. Dette er grunnet den fantastiske eksponeringen på vinmarken i Kent og den høye kvaliteten på druene de greier å opprettholde år etter år. I tillegg har vinene lenger tid på bunnfall enn mange andre viner fra England, noe som gir mer kompleksitet og eleganse.
Gusbourne ble etablert i Kent i 2004 av Andrew Weebet som opprinnelig var en ortopedisk kirurg oppvokst i Sør-Afrika, men som senere etablerte seg i England. Da han pensjonerte seg tok engasjementet hans for vin over. Hans fokus på kvalitet har vært grunnleggende for utvikling av Gusbourne, mens vinmakerne er ledet av Charlie Holland.
Gusbourne makes only single vintage sparkling wines rather than non-vintage wines, and the Blanc de Blanc blend of Chardonnay includes all the best grapes of the vintage. Whilst normally in Champagne a producer can call their wine Vintage Champagne after it has been aged on its lees for a minimum of 36 months, in England at Gusbourne, their Vintage Blanc de Blancs ages on the lees for a minimum of 48 months. This allows for the development of even more complex aromas, a creamier palate and a fine-beaded mousse.
VMP Nummer: 11756101
Pris: 400 kr
Medium gold/light copper colour. Aromatic. Apple blossom and white peach, slight buttery lees note. On the palate: Crisp lemony acidity gives a firm backbone, green apple, yellow apple, white peach, slight nutty croissant edge, creamy and rounded mid-palate and fine-beaded mousse with a long lingering finish. Very well balanced.
Excellent wine. Bargain price considering the very high quality.
Score: 93 points
Winemaking: 100% Chardonnay. Base wine: 10% of blend is fermented in oak (of which 10% is new French barrique) , the rest is fermented in stainless steel. 100% Malolactic fermentation. Disgorged 08/2020 (after 52 months on lees). Dosage 8g/l. 12% abv
Food pairing: excellent with oysters, sushi, white fish.