English bubbly and wine had its moment to sparkle when it picked up several Gold medals at this year's annual prestigious wine awards.Surprisingly, the international blind taste test has revealed that two £20 bottles of champagne from the Co-op and Asda have beaten significantly more expensive brands such as the £135 Cuvee Amour De Deutz from 2005. That's good news for us because it means great tasting bubbles and phenomenal value.
The prestigious awards – the equivalent of the Oscars in the wine world – gave top prize to the Co-op for its £19.99 Les Pioneers champagne and Asda's £19.97 Extra Special Premier Cru Champagne. In a record year of success a total of three English sparkling wines scooped the much-coveted medal, with a sweet wine from Surrey also picking up Gold in the International Wine Challenge. A 2008 sparkling Chardonnay Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs produced in Kent, a bubbly blend of Chardonay and Pinot Noir for Nyetimber Rosé grown in Sussex and a 2009 Classic Cuvée from Furleigh Estate in Bridport, Dorset were among the Gold medal winners.
The warm temperatures and chalky soil in the South of England are similar to those found in the Champagne region in France making it perfect for creating exquisite sparkling wines.This year's outstanding number of Gold medals won by England lends itself to the belief to that the idyllic English countryside is now the perfect environment for growing and producing high quality sparkling wine.A grand total of 32 Gold medals were handed out to own brand wines from British supermarkets with a staggering 13 gongs going to Marks and Spencer alone.A further 19 English wines won silver medals at the International Wine Challenge. The blind test tasting by an international panel of experts ensures that medals are given to the best of wines, regardless of their price or brand name.