Instead, you have the much more attractive sight of a bottle of the English Rose sparkling that we took away with us from the Chapel Down shop the weekend before.
We had family down on Saturday – my eldest daughter absolutely adores her older cousins – so it felt like an appropriate occasion to open a special occasion wine.
I launched sussexwinelist.co.uk to the world on Sunday, and said in the press release -
In Bordeaux I experienced first-hand the great pride that the Bordelais have about their wine, and I came home wondering why we don’t have the same sort of attitude?
Here in Sussex (and just over the border in Kent) we have fantastic terroir, increasingly warm summers and winemakers who, it must be said, are delivering high quality, premium wines harvest after harvest. There’s no reason why, with a bit of encouragement, we Sussex people can’t make ‘home-grown’ our special occasion wine of choice.
So whilst this one is Kentish (and we’ll forgive them that) the drinking of it has kicked off a concerted effort on my part (particularly with sparklers) to buy local. Champagne is a lovely drink, don’t get me wrong. But some of these Sussex wines are truly outstanding. So let’s support them, no?
Here’s my tasting note, followed by Chapel Down’s own…
Vintage Reserve English Rose (NV – ie non-vintage, which I grant you, is confusing), 12% vol, £19.99
[For those of you that don't know, the wine is given a 'vintage' if all the grapes that went into the wine were from the same harvest; if they weren't, and the wine is a blend of different years, the wine is non-vintage]
This one is a blend of Reichensteiner, Rivaner and Pinot Noir – the Pinot, as I understand it, being the dosage (ie the bit that they top up the bottle with, just after the dégorgement – the pressured discharge of the sediment, after the second fermentation).
Clear, medium‾ salmon colour
Clean, medium intensity, youthful; first aromas – roses and strawberries; second nose (after the swirl) – raspberries and honeysuckle
Dry, high acidity, light tannins; medium alcohol; medium+ body; creamy mousse (ie the fizz); medium+ flavour intensity and flavours of peach, raspberries and red plums; long length
Outstanding; premium priced; drink now, may be able to keep, but drink by 2015ish (says Dave)
Chapel Down’s own note
‘If you find some Champagnes too sharp, try this. From the colour to the aftertaste this has delicacy, great finesse and high refreshment value. A light lemon sherbet nose with hints of blackcurrant, rosehip and strawberry on the palate.’