Winemaking has existed in Great Britain since Roman times — back when the Isles were host to a warmer climate and more grape-friendly rainfall levels. But local winemaking regions have truly found their footing in modern times, thanks to quick-thinking vintners who’ve taken advantage of the U.K.’s recent warm summers. These days, an increasing number of leading producers are popping up in British counties like Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent, where the limestone-rich soils are perfect for making sparkling wine.
While sparkling wines are a must-have for special occasions, British sparklers are particularly unique in their striking versatility, capable of adding subtle complexity to pair with a weeknight dinner. So, looking for inspiration? Here’s how to get the most out of Great Britain’s most enticing sparklers.
An Elevated Breakfast Affair
To those who contend wine isn’t suited for the breakfast table, we politely disagree. Light and crisp rosés like Hush Heath Estate’s Balfour Brut Rosé 2015 can help transform ho-hum breakfast gatherings into elevated affairs. Pale salmon-pink in color, this bottling marries Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes to produce clean notes of wild strawberry, lime, and redcurrant.
It’s an excellent match for still-warm-from-the-pan crepes, topped with luxe clotted cream and fresh strawberries tossed with a tangy splash of balsamic vinegar.
Brunch Done Right
Step aside, Bloody Mary cocktails: Sparkling wines are taking over brunch tables on both sides of the Atlantic. If traditional gut-busting brunch fare is on the menu, turn to the Bolney Estate's stylish-but-traditional Blanc de Blancs, which boasts striking yellow fruit character with floral notes and wonderful yeast-forward undertones. It easily stands up to a hearty platter of Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffles with its smooth texture and fine mousse.
If a gastronomically lighter route is your preference, Citrus-And-Dill Gravlax on Rye pairs wonderfully with sips of Ridgeview Wine Estate's Bloomsbury bottling, which packs notes of citrus, peach, and honey. (If you go the latter route, you’ll be in good company: Bloomsbury was the official wine served at Queen Elizabeth’s grand Diamond Jubilee affair in 2012.)
Of course, you could always swirl some sparkling wine into a citrusy mimosa or nectar-rich Bellini. For this, opt for a straightforward and well-balanced sparkler such as Bolney Estate’s Bolney Bubbly Brut, which offers floral and brioche notes with hints of zesty citrus fruit, honeysuckle, and elderflower.
A Luxurious Lunch
Casual lunch fare—a.k.a. the humble sandwich—gets a major upgrade when paired with bubbles. The trick works with nearly anything: Dainty tea sandwiches brimming with slow-roasted turkey, juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, and crunchy strips of bacon? Between bites, sip on Ridgeview Wine Estate’s Fitzrovia Rose, which won silver at Decanter World Wine Awards in 2018 with notes of raspberry, citrus, and honey. In the mood for the perfect burger? Yeah, us too––always. Enjoy it with Hush Heath Estate’s fruit-forward Balfour 1503 Classic Cuvée, a crisp blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier with notes of lemon balm, white flower, green apple, and a hint of red berry fruit. Even crisp crab cakes benefit from a chilled flute of Ridgeview Wine Estate’s Bloomsbury Brut NV, a refreshing and juicy number that smacks of crisp Granny Smith and mellow Golden Delicious apples.
A Dinner to Remember
Why reserve bubbly for a once-a-year celebration? Break out a sparkling bottle of Ridgeview’s stylish Blanc de Noirs, with its cherry, sweet spice, and fresh herbs, to go alongside a filet of pan-roasted mackerel. Alternatively, a hearty plate of rich duck confit pairs perfectly with a glass of Ridgeview's Cavendish, made with a classic blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay that translates to a long-lasting finish and surprising freshness.
Don’t forget dessert
Never let a chance to pour something sparkling pass you by. At dessert time, sweet treats enriched with red berries—think peach-plum galette with a hefty scoop of vanilla ice cream, or an elaborate pound cake with fig chutney—are perfectly complemented by Balfour 1503 Rosé , which brings notes of wild strawberry and herbs to the table.
Hungry yet? Whatever’s on the menu, enjoy it with a chilled glass of English sparkling wine — it pairs with everything, any time.
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Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit