Top 5 Cornish sparkling wine alternatives to Prosecco or Champage
If you are looking for a glass of bubbly this summer then you naturally might choose a bottle of French champagne or Italian prosecco. However, there are some great alternatives made here in the UK, with the added bonus of knowing you are supporting small scale local producers. English sparkling wines are the new status drinks with record sales being reported by producers across the country. Cornwall has developed a burgeoning wine industry with its temperate climate and sunny south facing slopes seeing newly planted vineyards springing up across the county.
Leading the way in the Cornish wine industry is Camel Valley vineyard, the brainchild of the Lindo family. They planted their first vines in 1989, and have gone from strength to strength beating some of the leading French champagnes to win prestigious awards for their sparkling wine. There are now vineyards across the county from Polgoon based just outside of Penzance in the west of the county up to Trevibban Mill near Padstow. The latest ones to be planted are on the outskirts of Newquay and Truro but neither is open just yet – it takes a few years at least until the first harvests.
Here is our round up of our top 5 Cornish alternatives to prosecco…
1: Camel Valley Brut
This is the one English sparkling wine that most people will have heard of. In 2018 Camel Valley became the first English wine producer to be granted a royal warrant, and it has been served at several prestigious Royal events over the years. It is also served in several Michelin Star restaurants and when you fly first class on BA.
The Lindo family have been making fine English wines near Bodmin in Cornwall since 1989. They are now recognised as one of England's best producers, particularly of sparkling. The "Cornwall" Brut is Camel Valley's flagship vintage bottle of bubbles is a fine and fruity fizz with just a touch of honey and a long, moreish finish. It is perfect for all celebrations, with English hedgerow scents. This dry sparkler is a blend of Seyval Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes with 12.5% abv.
2: Fowey Valley Vintage Cider
This Sparkling Vintage Cider may not be the most obvious choice for a bubbly alternative but as The Independent newspaper said it, “Beats most sparkling wines hands down”. In fact, go ahead and serve it up in champagne flutes to your guests at your next gathering, and see how many guess that they are actually drinking cider rather than wine. Unless your guest list is primarily comprised of sommeliers, I bet very few.
It is handcrafted at the Fowey Valley cidery in Lostwithiel, a beautifully idyllic and historical town in Cornwall. It is made using fresh apples from their own orchard and others close by, and absolutely nothing else. It is made with a high proportion of dessert apples in the mix to give it that delicious ‘méthode traditionelle’ taste.
The apples are pressed, then fermented twice: first in the barrel for a year; then a second year’s fermentation in the bottle. The cider is then disgorged in the champagne style and aged further before release. It is the secondary fermentation that gives this cider its wonderful bubbly effervescence; a method invented in the West Country for fine cider making around 1600 - well before it was used in France for Champagne.
It goes wonderfully well with cheeses such as the alpine style Cornish Jack, and makes a fantastic gift especially when partnered with crackers and chutney in our Vintage Cider & Cheese Hamper.
3: Polgoon Sparkling Elderflower Wine
Polgoon Vineyard is located just outside of Penzance on the Cornish south coast and produced its first wines in 2006. Superior fruit is pressed and fermented to produce a light, dry sparkling wine, then infused with a subtle splash of elderflower juice. The Méthode Traditionelle of secondary bottle fermentation, as used by producers of the very finest French fizz, creates a quality sparkling wine with a persistent mousse. Wonderful floral notes of elderflower on the nose with a crisp, dry finish.
Described as an English summer meadow in a glass this is the perfect fine sparkling for an English wedding or a Cornish celebration. It is 10.5% ABV and was Winner of the Taste of the West Gold Award 2015. This delicious alternative to your traditional sparkling wine is available by the bottle on our website - Sparkling Elderflower Wine.
4: Knightor Classic Cuvee Brut
Knightor Winery is perched just above St Austell Bay in the beautiful countryside of South-East Cornwall. They make high quality, limited production wines from their own grapes grown at Portscatho on The Roseland and at Seaton.
Their Classic Cuvee Brut is pale lemon green in colour with a lively mousse that quickly settles to a steady stream of fine bubbles. It has wonderfully fresh, floral and fruity aromas, dominated by elderflower, honeysuckle, pear and peach. On the palate, this wine shows great vivacity, with good acidity balanced by delicate fruit flavours, leading to a clean and crisp finish.
It is made using the following grape varieties: Reichensteiner, Chardonnay, Huxelrebe, Kerner, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Seyval Blanc. Each varietal has been whole bunch pressed and fermented separately at a cool temperature to preserve the aromas. The wine was blended in early May 2014, creating a fresh and aromatic wine. After just over 6 months ageing in tank, the tirage was added to the blend and it was bottled. To preserve the delicate fruity nature of this wine and maintain the typical Knightor Classic Cuvée style, ageing in bottle is from 24 to 36 months. After disgorging, dosage is added and the bottles are aged for a further six months to a year before release.
We have a range of Knightor Wines available on our sister website - The Cornish Food Box Company - available for delivery UK wide.
5: Polgoon Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose
Polgoon Pinot Noir Sparkling Rosé is a single variety, single estate rather special rosé sparkling. Made by Polgoon Vineyard based just outside of Penzance on the Cornish south coast. It has a rich pink colour and a golden hue with a nose of zesty citrus and toasted crumb. It has a delicate palate with hints of tangerine, honey and spice. Absolutely perfect for celebrations and matches well with light and not too spicy dishes as well as sushi, salads and oysters.
The fruit for this wine is hand harvested and whole berry pressed before being fermented until dry. Matured over the winter until bottled for secondary fermentation in the bottle. It has won a Silver Award at the UK Wine Awards 2017 and Silver at the South West Vineyard Association.