sparklingwine

Introducing Skinny Prosecco

Yes, you heard us right – Skinny Prosecco!

We all know that too much sugar is bad for us, so when Scott and Thomson announced they were creating a low sugar Prosecco, we couldn’t wait to give it a try. The results are in and this is no gimmick.

The average bottle of champagne contains between 12 and 32g of sugar per litre. Prosecco contains between 12 and 15g per litre. This Skinny Prosecco has just around 7g. That’s around 67 calories per 100ml glass – less than a large egg!

But there’s more – This a DOC prosecco produced from 100% Glera grapes. It is also Certified Organic and Certified Vegan.

And it’s not just us – the media has been going crazy for Skinny Prosecco – don’t believe us, check out these articles:

http://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/skinny-prosecco-with-less-calories-than-a-banana-launches-in-uk

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/skinny-prosecco-how-many-calories-sugar-content-a7343816.html

So, why not give Skinny Prosecco a try this Christmas and help yourself to an extra mince pie!

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The Rise and Rise of English Sparkling Wine

We’ve known it for a while – but it seems the secret’s out. English Sparkling Wine is a hit.

Sales were up over Christmas 2015 and experts are predicting that 2016 will see even greater growth.

To keep up with demand, production has also had to increase. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have cited a 103.2% increase in the production volume of English and Welsh sparkling wines between 2010 and 2014.

So keen is the interest in English wine that the renowned Champagne brand Taittinger has announced plans to produce it’s own English wine after buying land in Kent.

Awareness of English wine is also on the rise thanks to a series of high profile sponsorship deals. From the Nyetimber sponsorship of Cowes Week to Wimbledon offering an English Sparkling wine, there will be no shortage of English wines this summer. Virgin have even switched from offering Champagne to Meonhill Sparkling Wine from the Hambledon Vineyard on their 787 Dreamliners.

So whether you’re messing about on the river, watching a spot of tennis or flying first class, you’ll not be far from a glass of English sparkling wine.

If you are interested in finding out more, be sure to check out English Wine Week organised by the English Wine Producers. The week runs from 28th May to 5th June 2016 and features events across the country to highlight to brilliance of English wines. For more information see, http://www.englishwineproducers.co.uk/

Alternatively, if you fancy sampling English Wine but can’t wait for English Wine Week, you can have us deliver a bottle of our excellent Coates & Seely English sparkling wine direct to your door.

For more information see:

Restaurant-Quality Wines You Can Enjoy At Home

We’ve all been to a fantastic restaurant, soaked up the ambience, devoured delicious food and discovered a fantastic new wine. The whole process is a love affair for the senses but the cost of this treat is increasing.

Pubs now regularly charge the same as their Restaurant counterparts. The Lonely Planet Guide advises that a three-course dinner with wine in a top restaurant in London will cost somewhere between £60-£90 per person.

So it’s not surprising that ‘staying in’ is the new ‘dining out’. No need to dress up (unless of course you wish to), no trekking through the rain only to find your chosen spot fully booked and with a 2 hour wait to be served and no need for a taxi home.

And the options for food are increasing too. Many takeaways now offer gourmet or healthy options. The lovely people at Cook! have designed a whole range of really remarkable food for your freezer (http://www.cookfood.net). Failing that, you can always cook your own gastronomic feast. Even if you’re not set to be the next Marco Pierre White, you can put your trust in Mary Berry’s new series of foolproof recipes (see BBC2, Mondays 8.30pm, 25th January to 29th February).

But what about the wine? That’s a more challenging issue. Yes, of course you could pop to the nearest supermarket and grab the bottle with the most appealing label. You could even approach the issue with a preferential grape or style in mind, but are you really buying a restaurant quality wine? Top restaurants pay handsomely to secure the services of expertly trained sommeliers to ensure their wine lists match the quality of the food they offer. Sadly even the best takeaways, prepared meals and home cooked offerings don’t come with a wine list.

Which is where we come in. At Charles Rose Wines we work hard with our suppliers to find restaurant quality wines at the best price and then deliver them straight to your door. Many of our fabulous wines appear on wine lists in the very best restaurants – don’t believe us – check out the lists below.

The advantage is that you don’t pay to cover the overheads, staffing and wear and tear costs associated with running a restaurant. You simply pay for the wine and delivery and leave the rest to us.

So why not enjoy a restaurant quality bottle of wine delivered straight to your door at a fraction of the price.

Deutz Champagne Brut and Rose:

Mionetto Sergio Rose Prosecco: The Oat Hill

Beronia Reserva: The Three Acres

Coates & Seely Brut Reserve NV English Sparkling Wine: No 4 Weymouth

Gonzalez Byass 12 Años Palo Cortado Sherry / Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Viognier 2012: Cork and Bottle

Charles’ Ultimate Gift Buying Guide

At Charles Rose Wines, we make finding the perfect Christmas gift easy. Whether it’s a fine wine, aged port or a vintage champagne, we have a fantastic range of perfect presents this Christmas.

If you are unsure of what is the best choice for that special someone this Christmas, why not have a look at our suggestions for a very merry Christmas.

Dapper Dads (and Grandads)

Quinta do Noval 20 Year Old Tawny Port

Noval 20

This delicious blend of ports is carefully matured in oak casks. The perfect way to round off a delicious Christmas lunch.

Marvellous Mums (and Grandmas)

The Mionetto Sergio Prosecco or Mionetto Rose Sergio Prosecco

 

Whether you opt for the White or the Rose prosecco, mum’s everywhere are bound to love these superb sparkling proseccos from the Veneto and Trentino areas of Italy.

Party Princesses

Deutz Brut Rose Champagne

Deutz Rose

It’s party season and what better way for party princesses to celebrate than with a glass of fabulous pink champagne in hand.

Lovers of all things Vintage

Deutz Brut Vintage 2006 Champagne

Deutz Vintage.jpg

This champagne is a class act. Perfect for those who love the finer things in life.

Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Port 2005

Noval Silval 2005

A superb vintage port, perfect to enjoy now.

Those who dare to be different

Quinta do Noval White Port

Noval White

Perfect for those who love to try new things.

Gonzalez Byass 12 Anos Palo Cortado Sherry

Sherry

While Sherry used to be reserved for the Christmas trifle, this wine is not just for Christmas and is certainly on trend this year.

The Wine Aficionado

The Around the World Mixed Case

Case The Aroud The World

If you can’t decide between white or red, then our Around the World case will do the job for you. A great way for wine aficionado’s to sample a wide range of wines.

Organic Foodies/Gin Lover

Forest Gin, Premium London Gry Gin

Gin

This award winning gin is hand-crafted in small batches and is made with organic certified botanicals foraged from Macclesfield Forest.

If you would like any more help, please be sure to email, tweet or connect with us on facebook and our helpful team of wine experts will be sure to point you in the right direction.

Happy hunting!

Wine Merchant Top 100 Wines

The Wine Merchant recently announced it’s top 100 wines for 2015.

The Wine Merchant competition is not like other wine competitions. The competition is devoted to wines in available in independent wine shops (just like ours). The wines are entered and judged entirely by specialist independent wine retailers. There are no large supermarkets, specialist chains or major online retailers vying for their wines to feature. To win, wines have to be more than good, or even excellent. They have to be wines that independent retailers would be proud to offer for sale.

This year a total of 430 wines were entered for judging in 5 categories. With a total of 16 judges, two main tasting rounds followed by a final tasting by the judging chairman and senior judges plus final checks to ensure the winning wines are genuinely independent-focused and available in the UK, the judging is a fastidious process.

The top 100 wines were split across the following categories:

  • Sparkling Wines – 7
  • White Wines – 33
  • Red Wines – 54
  • Rose Wines – 2
  • Fortified and Dessert Wines – 4

We are extremely proud that out of the top 7 champagnes selected – our Deutz Brut Classic Champagne Non Vintage is included!

The Deutz Brut Classic is an elegant Champagne, which has made Deutz one of the most respected of all Champagne houses. The non-vintage Champagne is matured according to traditional methods from a blend of several vintages from twenty of the best crus until it reaches a perfect balance of flavor. All in all, a fantastic Champagne and well deserving of a place in the top 100!

English Wine Week

If someone had suggested 20 years ago, that English Wine would be celebrated – you may well have thought they’d had one too many. However, English Wine Week has arrived and there’s a lot to celebrate!

The English and Welsh Wine industry has steadily been growing in both size and reputation. There are over 470 vineyards and 135 wineries in England and Wales producing both sparkling and still wines. In 2013, around 1,880 hectares of land were devoted to the growing of vines (the equivalent of 2,645 full size football pitches) producing 4.5 million bottles of wine (enough to fill the London Aquarium 3 times).

The UK wine industry is now recognised as a premium wine-producing region. English Sparkling Wines won three trophies and 14 Gold awards at the 2015 International Wine Awards.

Furthermore, a number of English and Welsh wines now boast EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographic Indication (PDI) status. These labels indicate that the product possess certain qualities or enjoys a certain reputation due to its geographical origin, such as Melton Mowbray pork pies. Wines carrying these special labels have passed certain taste and analytical parameters. The producers must also prove the geographical origins of the grapes. PDO wines comply with more stringent rules on the origin of their grapes than PGI wines.

English Wine Week runs between 23rd May and 31st May 2015. The English Wine Producers are organising a whole host of events to celebrate everything about English Wine. For more information and to join in the celebrations, see here!

Image courtesy of English Wine Producers.

Champagne From A Shipwreck Still Good After 170 Years

Sometime in the 1840s a two-masted schooner, possibly en route to St. Petersburg (nobody actually knows) sank off the coast of Föglö, an island next to Finland. It was travelling a route known to be used for Champagne deliveries to the Russian Imperial Court.

It lay there undisturbed in the calm, dark waters of the baltic for 170 years. Finally, it was found in 2003 by the Finnish Maritime Administration and explored by a group of Finnish and Swedish divers in 2010. After entering the hull through damage in the stern they found a number of items including 168 bottles of Champagne.

In 2011, a single bottle of this 200 year old Champagne sold at auction in Finland… for £26,700. Surely a bit steep for a bottle of wine thats been at the bottom of the sea for two centuries? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Old bottles of Champagne seem to have a habit of turning up.

At the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin visitor centre in Reims there is an 1893 bottle on display which was found, of all places, in a inside a sideboard in Torosay Castle, Isle of Mull, Scotland, in 2008.

The cargo recovered from the shipwreck included bottles from three of the oldest Champagne makers: Veuve Clicquot, Heidsieck and Juglar. But just how old are these bottles?

Philippe Clicquot-Muiron founded the company that would become Veuve Clicquot in 1772. In 1798, Philippe’s son, François Clicquot, married Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin and died in 1805, leaving his widow (veuve in Frrench) the company. Under this formidable woman Veuve Clicquot became the Champagne power house it is today. Analysis of the corks from the Veuve Clicquot bottles recovered from the wreck show a logo with a comet, apparently added by Madame Clicquot in 1811. This was added to celebrate an unusually good crop, so the bottles recovered could be as old as 204 years.

Florens-Louis Heidsieck founded the Heidsieck Champagne house in 1785 in Reims. Legend has it that he presented wine to Queen Marie-Antoinette. After his death in 1828, his nephew Christian Heidsieck started a partnership with Henri-Guillaume Piper. Christian died in 1835, his widow married Henri-Guillaume Piper in 1838 marking the beginning of the Piper-Heidsieck Champagne house. The Heidseick bottles recovered bear branding from the original company name so they are likely no younger than 177 years old.

The last maker Juglar, is the most interesting in that it ceased to exist in 1829 as it was absorbed into the Champagne House Jacquesson. Juglar bottles were recovered from the wreck meaning that the Champagne is likely somewhere between 186 and 204 years old!

In case you were wondering, the oldest recorded sparkling wine is Blanquette de Limoux, invented in 1531 by Benedictine Monks in the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire, near Carcassonne. This happened, possibly by accident initially, as bottling of the wine was carried out before the initial fermentation had ended.

Scientists from the University of Reims in Champagne-Ardenne, France have now analysed samples of the champagne and were surprised by what they found.

The bottles recovered were remarkably well preserved, 55m down in waters of 2-4 degrees C, high pressure and low levels of light. The aromas and chemical features of the Champagne were preserved and it was drinkable.

The Champagne itself was remarkably similar to modern Champagne, but much sweeter with sugar levels of 14% – more like a modern desert wine. Modern tastes have driven the sugar levels in Champagne far lower than this. The levels of CO2 were vastly lower, 80% less than a modern bottle, probably because most of it had escaped through the cork. Finally, traces of arsenic hint at the use of arsenic salts as a pesticide in use at the time.

All of which goes to explain why these bottles can fetch such a high price at auction. Perfectly drinkable 200 year old Champagne, yours for around £25,000!

Image is of the Mary Camden, a two-masted schooner, by William Pierce Stubbs (1842 – 1909) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wine Recession

While we’re all familiar with the worldwide financial recession, did you know we’ve also been experiencing a wine recession? Well, fear not, apparently the wine recession is set to end this year.

Back in 2008, consumption of wine peaked at a level of 25 litres per person – the equivalent of 1.61 billion bottles of wine! However, since that time, wine consumption has fallen by around 10.5% per capita.

Vinexpo and the International Wine and Spirits Record have now predicted that wine consumption will start to increase over the next five years. However, consumption is not set to reach the 2008 levels ‘in the foreseeable future’. Instead, a slow recovery over the next 5 years is expected.

Guillaume Deglise, CEO of VINEXPO, says, “We can say confidently that 2015 will show that the UK wine recession is over. While the UK market shed 9.6m cases between 2008 and 2013, it is now past its low point. The UK wine trade is building value and many leading marketers report progress at the premium end”.

It is noteworthy that the outstanding success since 2008 is sparkling wine. A large proportion of that success is down to Prosecco, which has seen a growth of 43% of UK imports. Between 2008 and 2018 UK drinkers are forecast to increase consumption of Prosecco to 2.2 litres per person, per annum.

So let’s raise a glass (of Prosecco) to the end of the wine recession!

Image is “Prosecco sparkling wine” by tracy ducasseFlickr: [1]. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Italian Sparkling Wine On Tap, Is It Prosecco?

Prosecco, the Italian cousin to France’s champagne, has quickly been gaining in popularity in the UK, but are you enjoying the real thing? Not if your prosecco is served on tap apparently.

Last year global sales of Prosecco overtook Champagne for the first time. In the UK, Prosecco achieved a 74.6% uplift in sales in the year to 20th July 2014 according to Kantar Worldpanel. There was similar staggering double-digit growth in 2013 with an increase in sales of £70 million.

Such is the staggering popularity of this sparkling gem that many eateries and pubs in the UK have started to sell it on tap. The advantage being a super sparkly glass of fizz without having to order a full bottle. However, according to EU Regulations, Prosecco must be produced in the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene area of north-east Italy (just as champagne must come from the Champagne region of France) and must be marketed exclusively in traditional glass bottles. So if it arrives on tap, it is not Prosecco.

The trend of pubs selling Prosecco from barrels so alarmed Italian producers that they contacted the Food Standards Agency asking them to stop the sale of prosecco on tap. The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that it is not an acceptable practice to sell prosecco in this way. As such, it is perfectly permissible to serve Italian sparkling wine on tap, but it cannot be called Prosecco.

So if you simply want a glass of Italian sparkling wine, by all means order from the tap, but if you want the real thing, buy a bottle!

Image is “Prosecco vineyards” by John W. Schulze is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Terroir and Changing Climate Behind English Sparkling Wine Success

We recently posted about the dramatic increase in English Wine Producers. What is driving the spectacular success of English Sparkling Wine?

The South East of England is well known for its’ countryside, castles and universities.

However, the qualities of its terroir (the fancy French word for land) are less well known.

The chalky soils of the Sussex Downs, formed some 60 million years ago, are the same as those in the Champagne region of France. During the Cretaceous period much of Northwestern Europe was covered in a shallow sea that left a thick chalky soil for today’s vineyards.

Chalk is soft limestone and very porous meaning that vine roots can more easily grow. It drains well and is best for grapes with high acidity levels used for Champagne and sparkling wines.

Sussex is the sunniest and warmest part of the UK. Unprecedented climate changes in the South-East has had the effect of increasing temperatures year on year for the last 20 years. The South-East now has a similar cool climate to Champagne, which lies on a latitude less than 100 miles to the south.

Previously hardier German grapes such as Reichensteiner and Riesling, more at home in the Rhine region of Germany, were prevalent across the South-East.

Thanks to changes in the weather the finer, more delicate Champagne grapes such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir can now be correctly ripened.

Thanks to the combination of climate change and terroir, the South-East is producing sparkling wines that are arguably the finest in the world.

If you fancy learning more here’s a short clip from BBC Inside Out which explains more.

Image is of “Seven Sisters cliffs and the coastguard cottages, from Seaford Head showing Cuckmere Haven (looking east – 2003-05-26)” by Stephen Dawson, Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.