English sparkling favourites Camel Valley and Ridge View came out ahead in a major tasting of 94 sparkling wines – most of them from the UK - held in London last week.
Rosé styles and traditional Champagne varieties were also clear favourites at the second annual UK sparkling wine tasting organised by Stephen Skelton MW, with Jancis Robinson MW, Steven Spurrier and Essi Avellan MW on the judging panel.
But the four non-UK sparklers among the 94 wines tasted fared less well with the panel of 12 judges.
Of the four non-UK wines, the only one to finish in the top 20 was Sainsbury’s Blanc de Blancs from Duval-Leroy at 19. Nicolas Feuillatte Rosé NV was 35th, Domaine Chandon’s Green Point in Australia’s Yarra Valley was 43rd and Lanson Black Label NV 88th.
Skelton said the non-UK entrants had done much worse than last year. He added, that he appreciated that four wines against 90 ‘is hardly a fair fight, but the non-UK wines were selected for quality…and there was no intention to make them appear as second-class citizens.
‘The fact is that the best UK sparkling wines have better fruit, better acidity and greater length than wines grown in warmer climates.’
In a tight round of scoring where only two points separated the top 43 wines, Camel Valley’s Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 2010 was a relatively clear winner, 0.25 points ahead of Ridge View Grosvenor 2009.
Ridge View wines occupied eight out of the top 25 places, while Camel Valley, Breaky Bottom and Chapel Down all supplied three wines each out of the top 30.
The top 18 were all UK wines made from traditional Champagne varieties, and seven of the top 11 were rosés.
In general, wines made from non-Champagne varieties were less successful, although Breaky Bottom’s Cuvée John Inglis Hall and Cuvée Brian Jordan – both made from Seyval Blanc – made the top 30.
Written by Richard Woodard, and Adam Lechmere