INSPIRATION • August 2021
From the rolling South Downs to the rural fringes of Hampshire, we scour the country in search of the UK’s most luxurious sparkling wines – and bring you our favourite spots to sit back and savour the bubbles…
Made in: Sussex
The lowdown: Established in the quaint village of Alfriston at the foot of the South Downs, Rathfinny Estate is the brainchild of oenophile husband and wife duo Mark and Sarah Driver. Rooted in the optimal chalky terrain required to yield an exceptional sparkling wine, their world-class bubbles are produced from hand-harvested grapes using time-honoured, low intervention methods.
Where to drink: In the capital, at The Coral Room at The Bloomsbury Hotel. This Art Deco hangout is home to London’s largest supply of Rathfinny, and the perfect place to sample a glass or two of the fruity Rathfinny Blanc de Blancs 2016.
Made in: Hampshire
The lowdown: Producer of British Airways’ sparkling wine of choice! Renowned for its cutting-edge practices, with vineyards plotted using the latest GPS technologies, it’s no surprise that Hattingley Valley has stayed ahead of the curve, churning out award-winning cuvées and tempting rosés from the family-owned winery.
Where to drink: Indulge in a pre-flight tipple in the Concorde Terrace at Heathrow Terminal 5, or on board in the luxurious First cabin, where you can sample our very own Blanc de Noirs, courtesy of Hattingley.
Made in: Devon
The lowdown: Overlooking the fields and woodland leading to the River Dart, Sharpham’s picture-perfect farm is home to acres of flourishing vines, a traditional creamery and its very own restaurant – The Cellar Door. After all, the only thing better than wine is wine and cheese, no?
Where to drink: Book a table at the on-site al fresco eatery, serving up seasonal fare harvested from the estate. Each dish comes with a recommended wine pairing, making for a heady experience for foodies and wine lovers alike.
Made in: Kent
The lowdown: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are the winning combination occupying all 60 hectares of Gusbourne’s Appledore estate. Dating back to 1410, the winery practises age-old traditions with the use of ultramodern technologies. The result? Some of the finest sparkling wines in the UK and beyond – just try a glass of the zesty Brut Reserve.
Where to drink: Check in to historic country hotel Douneside House, set deep in rural Aberdeenshire, and indulge in a chilled bottle as part of their luxury picnic package.
Made in: Buckinghamshire
The lowdown: Family-run Harrow & Hope may be a single vineyard, but its unique flinty terrain (where the Thames once ran some 450,000 years ago) bears fruits that are taking the winemaking scene by storm.
Where to drink: Harrow & Hope runs tasting sessions thrice weekly throughout the summer, but we’d recommend a short ten-minute drive to Tom Kerridge’s Michelin-starred Hand and Flowers for a bottle of the Blanc de Noirs.