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English sparkling wine goes head to head with Champagne in Paris

Published:  22 April, 2016

The Wine and Spirits Trade Association put English sparkling wine up against Champagne in a blind tasting in Paris.

"English wine is a fast growing industry with bold ambitions to boost production and open up new export opportunities. It is on the way to emulating the global and long standing success of Champagne," said Miles Beale, chief executive officer of the WSTA.


The blind tasting was organised by Matthew Jukes, British wine expert, and held at Juvenile restaurant in central Paris.

In two categories, the English sparkling wines came out ahead as the preferred choice of bubbles and the remaining category the judges were split down the middle.

"We couldn't have expected the tasting to go so well. I purposefully picked out some of the world's finest wines to ensure a level playing field for all. They were all spectacular wines but when it came to the voting we were collectively delighted that English sparkling wines fared so well," said Jukes.

Beale said: "This is a ground breaking time for English sparkling wine. We should all raise a glass on St George's Day to celebrate that we have successfully slayed the myth that English wine cannot compete with the best in the world."

In the blended category the 2009 Ridgeview Bloomsbury, from Sussex, England went up against NV Jacquesson, Cuvée No. 738, from Champagne, France. In the Chardonnay category 2009 Nyetimber, Blanc de Blancs, from England was pitched against NV Billecart-Salmon, Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs, from Champagne, France. The final category saw 2011 Gusbourne, Rosé from England go up against NV Ayala, Rosé Majeur, Champagne, France.

The skyrocketing sales of English sparkling wine is driving more investment in the UK with applications to develop vineyards increasing 40% last year.  French Champagne house Taittinger took the plunge and purchased land in conjunction with Hatch Mansfield in Kent.