A trip down to the glorious Sussex vineyards this autumn sounds like an excellent idea, particularly now that Sussex sparkling wines have a brand new PDO status. We have picked the top two bottles of Sussex sparkling and the best vineyards to visit in West and East Sussex this October, as harvest season is in full swing and the aromas of delicous grapes fill the air...
Ridgeview has been producing world-class sparkling wine for over 25 years, made in the heart of Sussex on the edge of the South Downs National Park. The team are incredibly proud to have served at a collection of Royal occasions including to former US President Barak Obama at Buckingham Palace. The words ‘Life is for Celebrating’ are written in the neck foil of every bottle. Established near the picturesque village of Ditchling in Sussex, with fantastic tours and tastings, this second-generation family business was crowned the globe’s best in the ‘International Wine & Spirit Competition’ in 2018 and named No. 36 in the ‘Top 50 Worlds’ Best Vineyards’ in 2019.
Must try: Ridgeview Bloomsbury NV. The bottle is bursting with delicious flavours and is a fun, good time wine to enjoy with friends and family. A delectable aperitif to pair with fish and scrummy canapes, the wine is the perfect blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This particular NV was served at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. £30. ridgeview.co.uk
County: West Sussex
Everflyht is a new single vineyard estate in Ditchling, East Sussex and is certainly one to watch. This year, Everflyht released its debut wines, a Sparkling Brut NV and a sparkling Rosé de Saignée 2019. The premium English Sparkling wines, made from small parcels of fruit grown in the heart of the South Downs, are aimed at independent wine merchants and high-end trade, with sales & distribution managed directly via the estate. Winemaking takes place at Hambledon Wines in Hampshire. The name Everflyht is inspired by the six Martlets of the Sussex crest, symbolising knowledge, adventure, and learning. Everflyht even has a wine club called ‘murmuration’ that gives members access to future allocations of the wine as well as priority access to private events held here at the Everflyht Estate.
Must try: Everflyht Rosé de Saignée 2019 is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Pinot Meunier, and is made in a fruit-forward style with a portion of the blend matured on lees in old oak barrels, for added depth and character. Just 1,400 bottles are available. Everflyht owner Sam Ellis said: ‘The new rosé is a departure from some of the lighter, paler styles of Saignée on the market, providing an interesting contrast to recent trends.’ RRP £40. everflyht.com