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Anthony C

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Lets all toast the New Year with a nice crisp...Merrett?

by Anthony C » Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:13 pm

Hi all, first post.

Anywho, ive become increasingly fascinated and impressed with the quality of English wines (whites, and sparkling specifically-lets be honest, the climate is about as conducive to good red as an industrial refrigerator)

I found this interesting article from last year about the growing desire of the Sparkling Wine producers in England to have a more tradable name


A sparkling wine maker has called for more rigorous rules to guarantee quality standards.

Michael Roberts, co-owner and wine maker at the Ridgeview Estate in Ditchling Common, has trademarked the word "merret" to describe his award-winning sparkling wine.

Now he is calling on other wine makers to sign up to his stringent methods in order to gain the right to share the name.

In 1662 Christopher Merret outlined the process of making traditional sparkling wines in a paper to the Royal Society in London, 30 years before the technique was adopted in Champagne.


This year a vintage rosé from the Ridgeview Estate was served at the state banquet for the President of the United States of America.

The wine was served at the Buckingham Palace dinner for Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.

The Ridgeview Estate was founded by Mr Roberts and his wife Christine in 1994.

Mr Roberts said: “The term ‘English sparkling wine’ is too cumbersome.

“Now that many producers are entering the market we need to make sure that standards do not slip.

“The name has to be more than a label. It has to stand for the best wine available as the term ‘Champagne’ does.

“But to earn the right to use the name, other wine producers have to be prepared to go down the same route that we have at Ridgeview.”

His call was backed by other wine growers across the county.

Sam Linton, wine maker and managing director at the Bolney Wine Estate, in Foxhole Lane, Bolney, Haywards Heath, said it is important for the area’s top producers to gain recognition.

She said: “This is something that we would support. It is important that Sussex is shown to be producing some of the best sparkling wines available.

“Now that our wine producers are winning many awards we must promote our quality on the international stage.”

Aly Englefield, wine maker and manager at Highdown Vineyard in Littlehampton Road, Ferring, near Worthing, said she also backed the call for a common standard for quality wine but said that all producers must back the system.

She said: “It is quite a complicated subject. I think that many buyers of wine are confused by the French system, for example.

“Whatever method is chosen needs to be quite simple so that non-experts can understand it.”

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9445108. ... standards/

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Peter May

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Re: Lets all toast the New Year with a nice crisp...Merrett?

by Peter May » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:41 am

Welcome Anthony...


I'm guessing you are in the UK - me too.

Ridgeview - who use the Merret name - are a first rate estate growing only Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay and making their fizz by the traditional method.

They are well worth visiting to taste and see the view from their tasting room overlooking the vineyard on the edge of a ridge on the downs.

Congrats on your first post.
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Stanislav Rudy

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Re: Lets all toast the New Year with a nice crisp...Merrett?

by Stanislav Rudy » Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:03 am

Hi Peter,

I am in Slovakia but had the opportunity to taste the RidgeView bottle beginning this year in London. At that time I bought another bottle with the signature of Mike Roberts - 2007, Theale Vineyard, Blanc de Blancs and by coincidence we have opened it just two days ago together with other sparkling enthusiasts here in Bratislava.

Theale Vineyard is a plot planted with 704 Chardonnay vines in 1998, in 2007 there were only 999 bottles produced, I am happy that one of them landed in our flutes... :)

On the back label I could read:
"2007 was their sixth vintage (in France this would officially be the third "proper" vintage) from the Theale Vineyard. Our 704 Chardonnay vines continue to prosper under the care ot the team from RidgeView, giving a little more fruit and greater concentration of flavour as they mature.
The grapes were hand harvested on 4th October 2007, then taken for vinification by sparkling wine expert Mike Roberts (whose RidgeView wines frequently beat those from Champage)."

It is a pitty there is no possibility to refill my inventory... :(
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Re: Lets all toast the New Year with a nice crisp...Merrett?

by wnissen » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:56 pm

Start the meal with claret, end it with Merret? I can see it.

On the U.S. west coast, English sparkling wine (by whatever name) is unavailable, but I'd love to try some.
Walter Nissen
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Lets all toast the New Year with a nice crisp...Merrett?

by Paul Winalski » Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:40 pm

Interesting. Do the Ridgeview vineyards have chalky soil? The same chalk bed that forms the white cliffs of Dover forms the subsoil of several wine regions of distinction: Champagne (whose name means "white fields"), the Cote d'Or in Burgundy, then further southewest, the Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne sub-regions of Cognac, and finally the albariza soils around Jerez de la Frontera where the best Sherry is made.

-Paul W.
Last edited by Paul Winalski on Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lets all toast the New Year with a nice crisp...Merrett?

by Jenise » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:16 pm

Anthony, welcome!

I had the pleasure of tasting a Ridgeview bubbly for the first time just a few weeks ago. It proved that everything I've heard about English sparkling wines is completely true. Here's a link to the thread in which I described the experience:

http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/village/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=49717&p=408385#p408385
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Peter May

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Re: Lets all toast the New Year with a nice crisp...Merrett?

by Peter May » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:00 am

Paul Winalski wrote:Do the Ridgeview vineyards have chalky soil? .


Yes
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Re: Lets all toast the New Year with a nice crisp...Merrett?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:16 pm

Talk about good timing, Ridgeview features in Jamie Goode`s 5th annual New Years Champage tasting video (long)>

http://www.wineanorak.com/wineblog/
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Anthony C

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Re: Lets all toast the New Year with a nice crisp...Merrett?

by Anthony C » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:55 pm

I am in the UK, yes.

Im increasingly interested in the prospects for English wine. Gone are the days when English wine was a bad joke apparently (that said, very few wine experts put much store on pretty much any form of red wine produced in England, due to the climate. Indeed, English sparkling wine seems to be one of the few undeniable positive outcomes from climate change.

Id be interested to know what, if any, the English/UK (is there any technical/regulatory difference between wine produced in other parts of the UK?) uses as a classification system, or is the industry currently so new as to be a regulatory free for all?
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Peter May

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Re: Lets all toast the New Year with a nice crisp...Merrett?

by Peter May » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:13 am

Also discussed in your other thread but

Wines may be marketed as English Quality Wine or English Regional Wine if they are meet analytical and tasting criteria. In 2012-13 there were 251 applications.

Have a look at http://www.food.gov.uk/business-industr ... tJ2N7TKPIU and the menu on the left for a starting point on the many regulations and standards that control the wine industry, and also http://www.ukva.org.uk/index.php?option ... &Itemid=69
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Re: Lets all toast the New Year with a nice crisp...Merrett?

by Peter May » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:15 am

Anthony C wrote:I am in the UK, yes.


Suggest you update your profile to add your location - click User Control Panel at top of this page

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