Best English Sparkling Wine For Christmas & NYE 2023

By Ellie Smith

6 months ago

The finest English fizz for your celebrations


The first mention of English sparkling wine dates all the way back to 1662, when it was mentioned by two scientists in a paper to the Royal Society. Yet for many centuries, it was largely forgotten about. It wasn’t until the 1950s when British winemakers began to see its potential, spearheaded by pioneers like Hambledon Vineyard, who saw that English sparkling could be just as good – and in some cases better than – Champagne. There are now over 100 vineyards across the country. And the boom shows no sign of slowing: English sparkling continues to go from strength to strength, scooping up numerous awards along the way. But which are the very best bottles? Read on to discover the best English sparkling wine for 2023.

Best English Sparkling Wine 2023

Why Should We Be Excited About English Sparkling Wine?

English sparkling wine has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. As Hedonism Wine’s general manager Julien Le Doaré explains: ‘Sparkling wine is the most developed and largest category of English wine by far and there’s a good reason for that – English sparkling wine is of very good quality. The soils in southern England (Kent, Surrey and Sussex) are the same limestone chalk soils as those in Champagne, France, and, with climate change, the climate is getting warm enough to produce very high-quality sparkling wines.’

Who Will Like Drinking It?

‘Lovers of champagne and other sparkling wines will enjoy English sparkling wines, particularly those who like styles that preserve freshness and acidity, like Blanc de Blancs,’ says Le Doaré.

summer guide

Best English Sparkling Wine Vineyards 2023

Gusbourne

The first Gusbourne vines were planted in 2004 under the helm of founder Andrew Weeber, with the debut vintages being released in 2010. Since then, the brand has grown to become one of the most renowned English sparkling wine vineyards in the country – spread across 60 hectares of land in Appledore, Kent, and 30 hectares next to the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex. A low-intervention approach to vineyard management is used, with the best quality fruit harvested and hand-picked by the team, spearheaded by vineyard manager Jon Pollard. 

TRY: Blanc de Blancs 2018 Vintage, £65, gusbourne.com

Nyetimber

Nyetimber

Renowned for its excellent flavour, freshness and stylish bottles, Nyetimber is one of the biggest players on the English sparkling wine scene. Established in 1988, it was a true pioneer – the first producer to exclusively grow the three celebrated grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. All wines are crafted using traditional Champagne methods, with vines spread across three sites in Sussex, Hampshire and Kent – south-facing slopes that allow maximum exposure to the English sunshine. Head winemaker Cherie Spriggs personally assesses the handpicked grapes to ensure quality, ripeness and character – hence why the wine tastes so good.

TRY: Nyetimber Classic Cuvée NV, £39.50, nyetimber.com

Chapel Down Coronation Edition 2016

Chapel Down

Based at Tenterden in Kent, Chapel Down was founded with a key aim: to change the way people think about English wine. The company has certainly played a part in the renaissance of English sparkling, with its vineyards predominantly located on the North Downs of Kent – an area which has a terroir very similar to that of Champagne. Its sparkling wines have won numerous awards, and you’ll find it served in prestigious spots across the country – it was even an official supplier to 10 Downing Street. 

TRY: Chapel Down Classic NV, £26.99, waitrosecellar.com

Ridgeview

Set in Sussex, this second generation family winery specialises in eco-minded viticulture. Green initiatives include improving soil structure, encouraging natural grape pests and reducing use of herbicides – factors which have helped Ridgeview to achieve B Corp status, as well as accreditation under the Wines GB Sustainability scheme. Its sparkling wine is top-quality, created using the classic method using hand-picked grapes, with a mix of white, rose and even red fizz to choose from.

TRY: Ridgeview Bloomsbury NV, £34, ridgeview.co.uk

Hattingley Valley Bottles & fizz in Vineyard

© The Electric Eye Photography

Hattingley Valley

The Robinson family took their first steps in the world of winemaking back in 2008, planting their first vineyard on part of their farmland in rural Hampshire. Fast forward a decade, and Hattingley Valley is one of the leading sparkling wine producers in the UK. This is largely due to head winemaker Emma Rice, who managed to persuade founder Simon Robinson to kit the winery out with the finest equipment. Hattingley Valley uses the traditional method of making sparkling wine, but the producer is unique in its use of oak barrels. Each year, a small proportion of the wines are fermented, which helps to soften the wines before they are bottled for the second fermentation. Wines are then aged in barrels or tanks for up to eight months before being blended, filtered and bottled – a meticulous process which takes a minimum of 18 months and up to seven years to fully mature.

TRY: Hattingley Valley Rose 2020, £40, hattingleyvalley.com

Hambledon-Vineyard

Hambledon Vineyard

The UK’s oldest commercial vineyard, Hambledon’s story begins in 1951, when Major General Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones had the idea to plant a vineyard at his house on the South Downs. After getting some tips from Champagne house Pol Roger, he planted a number of different grape varieties the following year – and the rest is history. Nowadays head winemaker, former champagne maker Hervé Jestin, oversees the production process from Hambledon’s state-of-the-art on-site winery. There are five different wines in Hambledon’s collection, all renowned for their fresh and delicate taste.

TRY: Hambledon Classic Cuvée, £34, hambledonvineyard.co.uk

Leckford Estate

Back in 2009, Waitrose tapped into the sparkling wine boom by planting a small vineyard at its very own farm, Leckford Estate in Hampshire. It produces a sparkling brut from Leckford’s Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes from Ridgeview; the result is a high-quality English sparkling wine with a creamy palate and notes of toasted brioche and hazelnuts. 

TRY: Leckford Estate Brut, £29.99, waitrose.com

Rathfinny wine launch and celebration as May's Sparkling Wine of the Month at the Ritz London

Rathfinny

One of the newer English wineries is Rathfinny, founded in 2010 by Mark and Sarah Driver in the South Downs – a prime location just a few miles from the English Channel. Based in the South Downs, the winery released its first bottles in 2018 to critical acclaim – and this year, it achieved B Corp status for its impressive environmental initiatives. The company uses a low-intervention method of winemaking which aims to preserve the natural flavours of the grapes, made with the traditional blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.

TRY: Rathfinny 2019 Classic Cuvée, £35, rathfinnyestate.com