In a nutshell: An elegant English sparkling wine from East Sussex which has a good richness and complexity.
The lowdown: Bluebell Vineyards, tucked away in the East Sussex weald, are quietly making some excellent English Sparklers, This, their signature wine is a good case in point. Made solely from Chardonnay in the traditional method it spent 19 months on ite lees during which time it gained a real richness and complexity which can be seen in the subtle yeasty and brioche aromas it displays along with a touch of tropical lychee and pineapple. On the palate there are fresh, ripe melon, kiwi fruit and mandarin orange notes which, along with the nicely balanced acidity give it a bright and vibrant finish.
When to drink: Naturally, it's a perfect aperitif and works well with olives and smoked nuts; also really good with things like Dover sole.
Not far from the southern end of the heritage steam railway of the same name, near Sheffield Park in East Sussex sit Bluebell Vineyard Estates one of the growing number of premium English Sparkling Wine producers.
Established in 2005 on the site of a former pig farm they now have more than 25 hectares of vines, a mix of Chardonnay, Pinots Noir and Meunier and a small amount of Seyval Blanc, straddling the East and West Sussex county boundary.
Since their first release in 2007 their wines have garnered critical acclaim and prizes at several prestigious wine competitions.