The Judgement of Parsons Green – not perhaps having the same lustre as the famous Judgement of Paris – but this yearly event pitches English sparkling wines against each other. The 2013 tasting, again hosted by Stephen Skelton, had 79 English Sparkling wines tasted by a 14 judge panel. In the mix was a sample of the Roederer Estate Quartet from California and four champagnes.
And the top spot, the one wine out of the 79 to be judged as the very best English Sparkling wines? This went to a Laithwaites listed wine, the Wyfold 2009, grown by Barbera Laithwaite and made under guidance with Ridgeview.
The Wyfold Vinyard is tiny, a 1 hectare plot, established in 2003 and planted with the ‘usual’ – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The winning vintage was the first to be put on general sale and entered into a competition.
The second winning wine, also available from Laithwaites, is their own Theale Vineyard Founders Reserve Blanc de Blanc 2007 – just 999 bottles were produced. I’ll be honest here, I have a bottle but haven’t opened it yet! Thought I might save it for a special gathering or some such…
“Theale vineyard was planted in the Spring of 1998 under the guidance of Thierry Lesne from Champagne… 2007 will be out sixth vintage… our 704 Chardonnay vines continue to prosper under the care of the team from Ridgeview, giving a little more fruit and greater concentration of flavour as they mature… If you are lucky enough to receive a bottle of this wine, savour and enjoy well chilled.”
My sample of the Wyfold Vineyard 2009 Brut gave a stylish wine, lemony gold in colour with nice complexity and lingering flavours.
The Very Best English Sparkling Wines from the Judgement of Parsons Green 2013
1 Wyfold Vineyard 2009 Brut (Laithwaites £24.99)
2 Theale Vineyard Founders Reserve Blanc de Blancs 2007 (sold out)
3 Breaky Bottom Cuvée Princess Colonna 2008
4 Ridgeview Cavendish 2010 (The 2009 vintage available from The Wine Pantry £28.99)
5 Wiston South Downs Cellars Bin 3 2009
6 Ridgeview Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs 2010
7 Roederer Estate Quartet (California) NV
8 Bluebell Estates Hindleap Rosé 2010
9 Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 2009
10 Champagne Waitrose Blanc de Blancs NV