Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Toasting William and Kate's big day? It's a great excuse to open some British fizz

All eyes are on London this week. I imagine if there are aliens up in space, even they will be turning their telescopes on Westminster to examine the extraordinary human antics that unfold in this country around a royal wedding.

Across the world, we’ll be scrutinising her dress, his shoes, the unfortunate moment the Queen wrinkles her nose that makes her look as though her blue blood’s hit boiling point at the thought of a prince marrying a pleb.
But the most important question about the wedding of Wills and Kate is, of course, what should we be drinking on the big day?

If I were picking the wines for the Royal Wedding, I’d have no hesitation in bellowing orders to royal footmen that nothing but English fizz is to be sipped from dawn till dusk by every guest, straggler, gate-crasher and dignitary at the bash. And I’ve just found a belter of a newcomer: Gusbourne Estate.

Have a crack at its Brut Reserve 2006, £21.99, or Blanc de Blancs, from Applegate in Kent. It’s not even hit the shops yet but you can call the vineyard on 01233 758666 to order the Blanc de Blancs for £24.99 a bottle. With wines like this of zinging royal exuberance and classy delicate bubbles, Gusbourne is a name that you’ll be hearing a whole lot more of.

English bubbly is fast making a name for itself – there’s word of a big new planting planned near to me in Sussex, success on the international awards stage for Camel Valley and Ridgeview, and the establishment of reliable  producers, such as Nyetimber and  Hush Heath, as well as smaller producers, such as the splendidly named Breaky Bottom.

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