English wine should be in every restaurant, according to Ronan Sayburn MS. Read more about what our expert panel identified as interesting sparkling wine trends at a recent Decanter tasting in London.
Sparkling wine trends
More like Grower Champagne
Sparkling wine will become more site-focused in the future, emulating Grower Champagne, predicted Justin Howard-Sneyd MW in the sparkling wine trends masterclass at the Decanter Great Sparkling Exploration in London, where 75 producers showed their wines to trade and consumers.
‘In the way that Grower Champagne is focused on terroir, I think this will become a wider trend across fizz-making – becoming more vineyard- and site-driven.’
Whereas the main Champagne houses focus on the blend and house style, meaning grapes can be from wider areas, this looks more at vineyard specific styles.
This point was reinforced by Nino Franco Prosecco, which showed its Grave di Stecca Brut, sparkling wine 2012 – deliberately named ‘sparkling wine’ rather than Prosecco.
‘More about the vineyard – this one is on limestone soil,’ said Tim McLaughlin-Green, UK representative of Nino Franco.
‘We want to get the message about the producer out, rather than just all being ‘Prosecco.’’
Producers also voiced the need for promotion of premium classifications in appellations like Prosecco and Cava.
‘Cava is a strange beast,’ said Ronan Sayburn MS in the masterclass.
‘You can go from very high poor to very high quality – so some producers want to pull away from the Cava name.’
Similarly, Marta Sanvicente, from Pere Ventura Cava, said, ‘There are no margins in premium, so if it gets too small, it just won’t last.’
A new premium Cava classification was agreed by producers in 2016.
And Cava producer Freixenet this month launched its first Prosecco.
English sparkling wine ‘must-have for every wine list’
‘The American market – especially sommeliers – are really excited by English sparkling wine,’ said Sayburn MS.
‘I think English wines will be a must-have for every wine list in the world.’
Whilst the he and Howard-Sneyd MW acknowledged the growth in popularity of English wine over the past 10 years, they attributed the summers of 2011 and 2012 as a real turning point, with occasions like the London Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Royal Wedding.
‘During the Olympics nearly every restaurant was serving some English sparkling,’ said Sayburn.
‘It was a real changing point from that ‘behind the hand sniggering’ for English wine,’ said Howard-Sneyd MW. ‘And they’ve hit the price point well – above Prosecco, above Cava and right below Champagne.’
Prosecco may be helping all sparkling wines
‘Prosecco has become very popular all over the world – post-economic crisis – over the past 10 years.’ Sayburn MS.
‘You’re taking sparkling wine and making it an everyday event – so people can’t afford a £30 Champagne every time.’
Some producers attribute the success of sparkling wine as a whole to the Prosecco boom.
‘Prosecco means people drink bubbles over beer,’ said Alexandre Duffieux from Maison Antech, which makes Crémant de Limoux.
Some UK supermarkets have started to stock more Crémant wines from around France, in a sign that this could be a new growth area in the next few years.
The Decanter Great Sparkling Exploration took place at Church House, London on 8th June 2017, with 75 wine producers from 27 regions. Special thanks to our sponsors Riedel for providing the glasses, and Belu for providing the water.