2015 has already proved to be a significant year for Ridgeview Estate in Sussex – dedicated producers of English sparkling white wines.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, one of its wines has been selected to be served in the UK pavilion at World Expo, Milan; it was recognised with one of DEFRA’s 50 food stars from within the UK; has launched another exclusive wine for Marks & Spencer; and has just received a three gold medals in the 2015 international competitions for Ridgeview Rosé de Noir 2010 (Sommelier World Wine Awards), Ridgeview South Ridge 2012 (International Wine Competition) and Ridgeview Blanc de Blancs 2011 (Decanter word wine awards)
In its 14 years of production (vines take time to grow), the family company has won over 200 medals and 27 trophies nationally and internationally. In 2010 it was awarded the trophy for ‘the best sparkling wine, including Champagne’ at the Decanter World Wine Awards. This is the only time the trophy has been awarded to a wine outside of the Champagne region. Founder Mike Roberts, chair of the English wine producers, was awarded an MBE for services to English wine in 2011. The rise of this business is as romantic and creative as its product. Four family members continue to lead the company, which retains a core value to produce the highest quality English sparkling wine.
The sparkling wines are created in the traditional method using selected varieties of vines – 13 French clones of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. In this way Ridgeview has emulated “l’assemblage” of the Champagne Houses that combine the vintages of small vineyards – this allows for the creation of imaginative blends. The high hills of the Downs provide both an incredible backdrop when tasting, even on a blustery March Sunday. More importantly the South Downs create a rain shadow which keeps the microclimate relatively dry and hot in summer.
Sharing the same geological formation as the Champagne region (it continues under the English Channel) the combination of chalk and clay has allowed for the production of sparkling whites that have been described as follows:
(Ridgeview Bloomsbury 2003) – “This is a terrific example which offers world class elegance, fitness and quality- vintage sparkling wine…Lively and lovely.” Olly Smith, Waitrose Review, January 2006
“Ridgeview South Ridge Rosé Merret 2011 – Made by English fizz expert Ridgeview, this is salmon pink coloured and has sweet rosehip, red cherry and strawberry notes, as well as some cream and herbs in the background. It’s rich but fresh and stylish. Laithwaites.co.uk
“Ridgeview Merret Bloomsbury 2011, Sussex – One of England’s finest, this has hints of quince and green pepper as well as citrus and pear fruit, with a touch of toastiness. It’s youthful but very good. “ Jamie Goode, Express, 5th April 2015
“Marks & Spencer, Marksman 2010 – Made by Ridgeview in East Sussex, this classic fizz is glory in a glass.” Olly Smith, Daily Mail, 18th April 2015
“Ridgeview Marksman Brut Rosé – A beautiful pale salmon colour with enticing flavours of red summer berries. Refreshing creamy bubbles weave to a long lingering finish. Match with: Served chilled as an aperitif, for celebrations, with seafood canapés or strawberries.” Richard Marsden, Mail Online, 26th May 2015
The message in a bottle is that the sparkling English whites from Sussex are becoming established world leaders.
Images – Winter Vineyard – A.Gray, all of other images provided by Ridgeview Wines