Saturday, December 29, 2012


I thought I would shout it from the rooftops, because lately the most traffic my blog has had was linked to Champagne. I reckon people are looking for tips for NYE.

Ten green bottles sitting on the wall...

The safest way to go is to choose one of the main Champagne houses: Moet & Chandon, Lanson, Mumm, Piper Heidsieck... or I prefer Taittinger, Veuve Cliquot or Bollinger. You could either go for a Classic Cuvee ("house blend") or Blanc de Blancs (Chardonnay grape only). Vintage will be particularly good years where the house has been able to veer away from the Classic Cuvee, so should give a more complex wine with interesting flavours.

However, I suggest English sparkling wine. It's my current preference. If you find Champagne a little too fizzy, Cava a little too yeasty, Prosecco a little too bland, and Sekt too sweet, then this is just right for Goldilocks. The soil in Sussex is very similar to that in Reims, and our cool climate allows us to develop the acidity that makes sparkling wines dance around your mouth. You could try Nyetimber (£25-50), Ridgeview (£20-25), Chapel Down (£20-25) or, from Cornwall, Camel Valley (£20-30). I'll be trying a Christmas gift: Ridgeview Fitzrovia, a sparkling rose that is mostly Chardonnay, look out for my tasting notes! Unfortunately, because English wine is so good, and are winning prestigious awards, they're not much cheaper than Champagne.

So,  where to buy?

  • There is a gorgeous new wine shop in Clapham North called Dvine Cellars which specialises in biodynamic and organic wines, give them a call if you're looking for something special,like their Alfred Gratien NV Brut and please tell them I sent you!
  • Majestic is offering £10 discounts on the main houses, including Moet (£40 > £28), Bollinger (£42 > £32), Veuve (£43 > £30) and Heidsieck (£28 > £19)
  • Berry Bros & Rudd sell all the English wines listed above
  • M&S sells Chapel Down
  • Buy the triple-pack of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee, Rose and Blanc de Blancs (£110 > £95) here

Please drink responsibly!

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