English Wine Bursts French Bubbly

English wine has always been given a tough time from world critics – none least from those across the Channel.

Still at the Decanter World Wine Awards that took place at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, an English wine beat pricey French champagnes to the top award.

The 2006 Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs, made by RidgeView winery, won the prestigious Decanter international trophy for sparking wine — beating 700 bubblies from across the world, some of which cost up to three times as much. And no one was more surprised than the owners.

RidgeView is a family run vineyard that grows chardonnay grapes in East Sussex. Founder and winemaker Mike Roberts – who had invited his entire staff to the ceremony, said they were simply not expecting to win.

‘We were looking at it simply as a good night out. We’d won the Regional Trophy and had absolutely no idea we’d got the International.’

During the announcement, Roberts said, he suddenly thought, ‘Bloody hell, they’re going to mention the Grosvenor next.’

The £21.99 bottle beat competition from five, including the Taittinger Prélude NV, Charles Heidsieck Millésime 2000 and Thienot’s Brut Rosé NV to win International Trophy for Sparkling Wine Over £10.

“We were thrilled. To win gold against such French champagnes is fantastic,” said RidgeView’s marketing manager Mardi Roberts. “We have won awards before but not of this significance.”

Ridgeview usually makes five different cuvees in any one year, all named after areas of London. As well as its award-winning Grosvenor, recent blends include Bloomsbury, Cavendish, Fitzrovia, and Knightsbridge.

It’s Knightsbridge brand came sixth in the content, with seven French champagnes and an Australian sparkling wine making up the top ten.

That should tell those wine critics to put a cork in it.