The English fizz invasion continues with these delicious wines. Although these aren’t exactly inexpensive, they do represent good value, equaling and arguably sometimes surpassing French champagnes in the same price range. And don’t forget the novelty factor of offering your friends something they haven’t tasted before.
I would have given a three-star rating to England’s Gusbourne Estate Blanc de Blancs 2011 ($76), whose red-fruit flavors are as intense as a laser beam. But Gusbourne wines are just reaching the D.C. market, and this blanc de blancs is not yet available in stores or restaurants.
Digby Fine English Non Vintage Brut
Here’s a wake-up call that will inspire dreams rather than interrupt them. A blend of 40 percent pinot noir, 35 percent chardonnay and 25 percent pinot meunier, this wine follows the classic blend of many top non-vintage champagnes. It can easily rival any champagne at this price. Alcohol by volume: 12 percent.
Hush Heath Estate Balfour 1503 Rosé Dry
This is a lovely strawberry- and raspberry-tinged wine that entices and refreshes despite having 18 grams of residual sugar, unusually high for a dry-tasting sparkling wine. “That’s the English acidity,” says Hush Heath proprietor Richard Balfour-Lynn. This wine had a brief stint on the wine list at Pineapple and Pearls this fall. ABV:11.5 percent.
Ridgeview Cavendish Brut 2014
Two and a half stars.
I was attracted by this wine’s red-fruit flavors and floral aroma. Some wines root me where I stand; this one entices me to follow it in search of a hidden corner in the garden where the moon shines clear and dreams come true. ABV: 12 percent.
The Bolney Estate Blanc de Blancs Brut 2010
Two and a half stars.
Soft and round, the Bolney Blanc de Blancs reminds us that we are drinking chardonnay, after all. The bubbles here are a welcome accent rather than a show-stealer. Drink this with your meal, then stare at your glass, wishing there were more. ABV: 12.5 percent.
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Three stars Exceptional, two stars Excellent, one star Very Good Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.