English wine has been around for centuries with wines produced in England up to the Hadrian's wall in the Roman times. The first vines of the modern era of English wines were planted in the early 90's and for the past year the industry has known an amazing success.
The production is still small; the quality however is impressive. UK wines received a total of 365 awards in 2015 including 46 gold medals. Recently beating a fine champagne in Paris in a blind tasting (Telegraph 2016), British sparkling wine is favoured by the Queen herself.
Her Majesty raised a glass of Ridgeview's Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs 2009 whilst hosting the state banquet at Buckingham Palace in honour of President Xi Jinping.
Our Head Sommelier, Guillaume Kaczmar talks about his passion for English sparkling wine and why he chose Hattingley Valley's wine for our Sparkling Wine menu.
"If we consider the quality of the wines, it's fair to notice the difference of maturity of the grapes, given by the very cold nights of the English Summer. English sparkling wine offers a fresh, light, crisp and very citrusy notes. Similar soils to Champagne and edgier climates means that we see wines with a lot of depth and elegance, mineral tones and great layers of complexity on the older vines and great years. The wine can surely age well, and they do develop a different style to Champagne."
He remembers fondly an amazing Magnum of Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2003 with its savoury balsamic hints he poured a few years ago.
"There are many good wineries out there, Nyetimber and Ridgeview in West Sussex have been pioneering, Chapel Down, Balfour at Hush Heath Estate in Kent, to Carmel Valley in Cornwall, I also really like Furleigh Estate in Dorset, just to name a few. But one of the finest I had recently is the very fine 'Kings Cuvee' of Hattingley Valley in Hampshire. Their range is delicious and I am very pleased to offer their Blanc de Blancs by the glass here at l'Ortolan and we will also have their Rose Cuvee for the first time in our Sparkling Wine Lunch. As well as promoting a special local vineyard, we would also like to invite all of our guest to push the boundaries. Bubbly are not only a good aperitif but can create some terrific wine pairing. Our lobster dish is prepared with raspberries and orange, what a great combination! So Lobster and Hattingley Rose anyone?'
Enjoy a glass of Hattingley Rose with a three course menu lunch in July and August Tuesday to Friday for £39.