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Choosing the Perfect Sparkling Wine

The UK’s love for Prosecco is well-documented whilst for others its Champagne or nothing, sparking wine is ever popular for special occasions and for some people, it’s simply their favourite drink. Choosing the right sparkling wine for your palate isn’t something you can guess. You may choose to sample many different sparkling wines to find your favourite but here we’re looking at a range of the most popular styles, to help you make the right choice.

 

Champagne

Champagne is rarely even considered a sparkling wine as it is in a class of its own. Made in the Champagne region of France, they are often the most expensive of all sparkling wines and the best offerings are held up as some of the finest (and most expensive) wine expressions in the world. Try this Serge Mathieu Brut Tradition for a classic champagne flavour.

 

Cava

Cava is simply the Spanish name for sparkling wine, specifically grown in many areas of Spain, most notably in and around the Penedès region in Catalonia. Almost all Spanish sparkling wine is known as Cava across Europe and beyond and as well as being available in standard white variations, there are also rose Cava on the market. Cava is popular because of its affordability and this Pere Ventura Divina Cava is a great choice if you want to get a feel for its flavour.

 

Prosecco

The most popular and trendiest of sparkling wines on the market, Prosecco is just one of a number of Italian sparkling wines. Another variation, though less popular, is Asti. Prosecco is made from the Moscato Bianco grape and is specifically grown in the Charmat region of Italy. It was first made popular in Venice’s Harry’s Bar, where the Bellini cocktail was invented. Both fully sparkling (spumante) and semi-sparkling (frizzante) varieties are available and from our range you can enjoy this Mabis Prosecco Spumante for a fine example of how good prosecco can be.

 

Sparkling Reds and Roses

Most sparkling wines are white, but any wine can be enjoyed in a sparkling variety. Of course, some grapes are more effective than others for making a good sparkling wine but there are both rose and red sparkling wines on the market which are just as high quality as whites. Try our Alamina Sparkling Pinot Grigio Rosato for example or this Majella Sparkling Shiraz, as a fine example of a sparkling rose and red respectively.

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Is the Future of Wine in Britain?

A fascinating new study has found that temperature rises linked to climate change could see the United Kingdom as a leading wine producer by 2100. Whilst this may seem far into the future, there is real evidence which suggests a wide range of different wines will be easily produced in the UK in less than a century.

By the end of the 21st century the climate in the UK will make it possible to produce a wide range of wines from Pinot Grigio to Riesling and Pinot Noir. A rise in temperature of as much as 2 degrees Celsius and 5% more rain than at present will mean that even the notoriously chilly Scottish borders could become a fertile growing area for Pinot Grigio. As you move South down the country the range of wines which will grow with ease increases, with Essex and London perhaps even capable of growing Malbec, despite how tricky it is known to be to produce. Researchers believe the whole of the UK has benefits for different wines with different growing regions popping up as the temperature increases.

In addition to Scottish Pinot Grigio and Estuary Malbec, researchers believe the Central and East of England will be perfect for the growth of Sauvignon Blanc.

English Wine at The Fine Wine Company

At The Fine Wine Company we already stock some fine examples of wine from England and around the United Kingdom. Our English brands include Stopham Estate in West Sussex, whose offerings include this Pinot Gris. Other brands include Chapel Down, a Kent company who produce their own dry sparkling wines amongst other offerings and Hush Heath Estate who produce elegant English reds, including this Pinot Noir. For English roses vineyards including Stopham Estate, Chapel Down and Devon’s Kenton Vineyard, who produce this refreshing rose.

The majority of English wine producers are currently based in the South of the country, as the climate is more temperature here. If predictions are right though, it won’t be long before we see more vineyards across the rest of the country and a much higher yield of quality wines.

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Famous Spanish wine regions

La Rioja

The most famous of all Spain’s wine regions, La Rioja is often described as the Spanish Tuscany. With three distinct regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja exception wines of different styles are available across the region.

The most famous and high quality grape grown across La Rioja is the Tempranillo whilst other regional grapes including Garnacha Tinta, Mazuelo and Graciano complement their huge output of great quality red wines. The leading white grape is the Viura or Macabeo and La Rioja is able to produce rich and dry white wines, as well as the reds it is famous for. At The Fine Wine Company, we have a diverse range of La Rioja wines.

Mendoza

The Mendoza Valley, at the foot of the Andes, is home to Argentina’s oldest and most traditional wineries. It incorporates a number of sub-regions: Luján de Cuyo, Maipú, Godoy Cruz and Guaymallén and it produces the largest amount of wine of any of the Argentinian wine regions.

In the last ten years, the wine growth in the region has expanded by an impressive 4400 hectares and it is a perfect place for the growth of rich and full-bodied reds, which Argentina is so well-known for. Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec are some of the best wines you’ll find from the Mendoza Valley but there are plenty more flavourful offerings to enjoy. At The Fine Wine Company, we have a wide collection of Mendoza wines for you to choose from.

Patagonia

Patagonia brings together three individual and popular wine regions: Rio Negro, La Pampa and Neuquén. It is a favoured spot for luxury, high quality wine producers and across the regions there are over 4,550 hectares of fully cultivated vineyards.

The winters are intense and the summers are particularly cool at night, which allows wines to be developed with both high sugar and acidity in perfect balance. The height of the vineyards varies between 300 and 500 metres above sea level which again shows in the character of the wines and their unique, intense Patagonian intensity. Patagonian wines are not the most popular Argentina has to offer but they are truly packed with flavour and originality. You can explore our range of Patagonian wines below.

Chateau de Santenay

Chateau de Santenay is one of the world’s leading and largest producers of wine in Burgundy. The beautiful chateau sits at the heart of the estate and there are a huge 98 hectares of vineyard. The fruit is packed with ancient heritage and the history of the estate is closely linked to the wine production history in the region.

The 98 hectares of Chateau de Santenay vineyard are spread across various plots across the Côte d’Or and the Côte Chalonnaise. The Burgundy varietals are at the heart of all wines produced and the vineyards production is a combination of the exceptional natural climate and terroir and the choice and implementation of specific growing techniques. The wine growers and makers at Chateau de Santenay take great pride in upholding the quality the estate has always produced. You can explore our range of quality Chateau de Santenay wines below.

Dandelion Vineyards

Bringing decades of experience and a family approach to wine production, Dandelion Vineyards have sites spread across Eden Valley, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, the Fleurieu Peninsula, Langhorne Creek and the Adelaide. Hills. It is a truly family run company with the skills and expertise in crafting wonderful wines passed down through the family.

Dandelion Vineyards grow their own grapes and source them from the best of the vineyards in their range. They separate single sites and single soil types where possible to ensure every variety and vintage is captured perfectly and provides the expression they’re looking for. You can explore a range of Dandelion Vineyards at The Fine Wine Company below.

Casa Marin

Casa Marin is a family business that all began with the lifelong dream of company founder and winemaker Maria Luz Marin. Found in the Chilean San Antonio Valley, Casa Marin incorporates 41 hectares of vineyards. Many of the vineyards are located on the steep hills which in turn create small microclimates with unique soils and more variety in their wine range.

With a focus on high quality, high value wines, Casa Marin produces elegant bottles which have a relatively high acidity level due to the terroir and temperatures in the area. They produce wines of many different types from unusual Sauvignon Gris to Pinot Noir. You can explore the Casa Marin range at The Fine Wine Company below.

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UK’s First Sake Brewery on the Way

Buying Sake online usually involves relying on suppliers to ship the popular rice wine all the way from Japan, but this will soon change. The brewery has been approved for the Dojima Sake Brewery and it will be located at Fordham Abbey Estate in Cambridgeshire. It is the first UK facility for brewing sake and will take approximately nine months to build.

A five-year investment of £9m has made the new brewery possible and it is an exciting development and shows just how popular sake is becoming in the UK. The brewery plans to make 10,000 bottles in its first year of operation and there is the chance that sake may become even more popular and readily available.

The site of the brewery received an official, traditional Jichinsai ceremony in November, to bless and purify the building site before laying the foundations. It is a traditional Shinto celebration and involved both the Japanese ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Koji Tsuruoka and the local communities including the local MP.

The project was unanimously approved by the local East Cambridgeshire District Council and should create jobs in the local area as well as raising the UK profile of Sake.

Visit the UK Dojima Sake Brewery

The making of sake is an entirely unique process which is how it gets its distinct flavour, as well as due to its ingredients. The brewery itself will be accompanied by a visitors’ centre once it is built. This will give many visitors the chance to find out more about sake, the process used to produce it and the many different types of this special Japanese rice wine.

We have discussed the many different characteristics before in previous blogs and if you’re looking to find a new sake to try or want to buy sake online for the first time our guide to finding the perfect bottle to suit your tastes is a great place to start.

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Break out from your Wine Rut: British Drinkers not keen on Switching Wines

Research carried out in October 2016 by the Co-Op supermarket found that over 50% of UK wine drinkers have chosen the same tipple for at least ten years. Reasons such as fear of the wrong choice, knowledge of their chosen wine or avoiding disappointment were cited. As wine drinkers get older they tend to get less experimental according to the research and the wines which are most likely to be chosen and stuck with are firstly Pinot Grigio then Merlot Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and then Rioja. There are fantastic examples of all these wines but it is a bit of a shame that so many Brits are missing out on so many other wonderful flavours. Here we’re looking at some of those firm favourite wines and suggesting some alternatives.

If you Love Pinot Grigio…Try Gavi

Cortese di Gavi is a popular Italian white but not as popular as it could be. They have a crisper, drier more animalistic mineral flavour than Pinot Grigio but many examples are packed with freshness and a more complex profile than most Pinots. Try La Giustiniana, di Gavi Montessora.

If you Love Merlot…Try Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is quite a popular red but if you’re looking to move away from a favourited Merlot it’s a great place to start. Pinot Noir was first conceived in Burgundy but you can find fine examples from around the world and it has a medium to light body which is palatable if you’re not used to full-bodied thicker-tasting reds. In our collection you can find the Hugel, Classic Pinot Noir, 2012 and you won’t find a more classic Pinot Noir flavour.

If you Love Chardonnay…Try Riesling

German Riesling is often ignored because wine lovers consider it ‘too sweet’ but there are plenty of quality, flavourful dry Rieslings on the market. It is such a versatile wine and it has been dubbed the Sommelier’s Friend because of how often its recommended and how satisfying it is. Try this Weingut Letz EINS-ZWEI-DRY Rheingau Riesling to enjoy something different to your usual Chardonnay.

Trying new flavours and different wines gives you more scope for enjoying even more high quality wines. There is nothing wrong with having a favourite but you may discover a new one if you step outside your comfort zone.

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Seven of the Best South African Wines

The popularity of South African wine is no surprise, the flavours cooked up in the fantastic climate are truly memorable. There wines should be celebrated, whether rose, red or white and whatever you’re looking for. Here we’re looking at just seven fantastic South African wines and whether you want to buy South African white wine online or just simply want to explore the reds available, it is worth considering all of our suggestions.

The Drift Farm Moveable Feast, 2013

The Drift Farm Moveable Feast is a beguiling Shiraz which is rich in mulberry flavours enhanced with white pepper and a toasty vanilla-rich oak. There is even an undertone of caramel chocolate and the tannins are smooth, long and satisfying. It will age gracefully for up to 30 years if you choose to hold onto it.

Acacia Tree Pinotage, 2015

Produced in the Western Cape region, this Acacia Tree Pinotage is a light and approachable red with plum and blackcurrant notes. Soft rounded tannins make it all the more drinkable and it has stylish and attractive packaging too, which is always a nice addition.

Gabrielskloof Rosebud, 2016

The name gives you a clue about what this aromatic rose is trying to deliver in its flavour. Gabrielskloof Rosebud is floral and fruity and has a moreish and surprising rose note. Complex in flavour the rose undertones are followed up with papaya and melon in a fresh yet not overwhelming combination. The addition of Syrah into the blend gives the wine an unexpected spiciness too.

Newton Johnson Felicite Rose, 2016

The Newton Johnson collection of wines has been producing dry roses in the Felicite style since 1998. This beautifully dry and moreish rose has been replicated in several vintages, including Felicite 2016. The flavours of this now well-known Newton Johnson wine include fresh pomegranate paired with just a touch of cherry and a welcome hint of spice. It ends with a tang of acidity.

Iona Sauvignon Blanc, 2015

Produced in the Elgin region by Iona, this simple yet aromatic Sauvignon Blanc is a fine example of what a fine white South African wine can taste like. Mineral notes blend with a herby freshness and there is a subtle yet appealing touch of gooseberry too.

Acacia Tree Chenin Blanc, 2015

A second entry for Acacia Tree on the list and using the same high quality packaging and labelling. This Acacia Tree Chenin Blanc is rich in stone fruit flavours with a touch of spice and plenty of fresh and clean citrus. It has a simple flavour profile which doesn’t disappoint and is highly versatile.

Martin Meinert La Barry Sauvignon Blanc, 2015

Martin Meinert named this particular Sauvignon Blanc after his wife Leigh Anne Barry, affectionately known as La Barry. It is grown in the cool Elgin region and it has a surprisingly complex flavour which has highlights of green gooseberry and fresh, herby nettles. There is also that familiar hit of fresh citrus and a gentle finish which tapers out.