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Busi Jacobsohn

The star of the online tasting – Busi Jacobsohn Cuvée Brut 2017

Busi Jacobsohn
Busi Jacobsohn
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Peter Ranscombe’s article in Scottish Field as he ventures south of the Border for the latest instalment in his “12 Wines of Christmas” series.

A recent online tasting hosted by master of wine Sarah Abbott to mark the launch of the classification highlighted the diversity of styles within the classic method category.

Busi Jacobsohn Wine Estate Classic Cuvée Brut 2017 (£38, Harvey Nichols)

The star of the online tasting for me, and a new discovery on my English wine journey. There’s an apple crumble-like intensity to this bottle – oats, butter, brown sugar and royal gala apple aromas, leading into an excellent balance between its acidity and concentrated flavours of apples baked in butter, with a sprinkling of cinnamon and brown sugar on the finish. Pricier, but worth it.

WHAT is “English sparkling wine”?

It’s a question that I get asked more and more often by readers.

The answer is a bit complicated.

As we discovered back in June during my series of articles covering English Wine Week, there’s a broad range of wine being made south of the Border.

There’s even diversity within the sparkling category.

Most English sparklers follow the traditional method of production – the process used for Champagne and cava – whereby the bubbles are created by adding yeast to a still wine in a bottle to trigger a second fermentation.

Yet it’s not the only game in town; other fizz is made using the tank method, like prosecco, in which the second fermentation takes place inside a large tank under pressure.

One isn’t better than the other – they’re just different.

Traditional method sparkling wines have “autolytic” characteristics – they smell and taste a wee bit like bread, toast, or brioche.

Tank method wines tend to be fruitier and fresher, focusing more on apple or lemon flavours.

Those tank method wines are usually cheaper to produce and so carry lower price tags on the shelf or wine list.

Making their mark

That diversity of production methods leads to a diversity of styles and so WineGB – the industry body that represents grape growers and wine producers in England, Wales, and even Scotland – has created a new hallmark for those made using the traditional method.

“This is the hero style that has put Great Britain on the wine map,” explains Simon Robinson, chairman of WineGB.

Expect to see more labels carrying the “Great British Classic Method” logo and phrase over the coming months and years.