2014 Bride Valley, Blanc de Blancs, Dorset – £38, ten branches of Waitrose and on waitrosecellar.com
There are a good few retailers out there for this wine, so please do have a browse of the Bride Valley website if you would like to support your local indie. For convenience, I have listed Waitrose, which sells more English wine than all of the other high-street titans, and it was there that I first tasted this wine while standing next to its maker, the legendary wine writer Steven Spurrier.
This wine is an instant classic – a smooth, enticing, beautifully balanced number. It is drinking perfectly already and is underpinned with pristine acidity. It was this facet of the wine that Steven and I chatted about while we were tasting it. He lowered his voice conspiratorially and told me a little secret that I am happy to share with you (I am sure he won’t mind). He was travelling in Champagne and was in the Côte des Blancs, home to the great chardonnay vineyards of the region, tasting with some locals. He generously uncorked his own wine and one of the old timers sidled over to him and said, “You’ve got what we’ve lost”.
He was referring to the vital acidity in the Dorset-grown wine. It seems that Champagne is warming up, along with all of the other wine regions of the world, and it looks like England will be even more of a safe bet for world-class sparklers than we might first have thought. If you would like to know more about Steven and his fascinating journey through wine, then I recommend his book, Wine – A Way of Life.
• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)