English sparkling wine is becoming better and better each year and Gusbourne is at the top of the pile of very good producers. Gusbourne Estate actually dates back to 1410, but the winemaking part of its history started in 2004 when Andrew Weeber took over the estate.
He had the idea of producing a sparkling wine that was as good as anything any other country could produce. He planted the first vines that year and in 2010 his first vintages were released, the 2006 Brut Reserve and 2006 Blanc de Blancs.
Awards include 'English Wine Producer of the Year' and 'International Trophy for the best bottle fermented sparkling wine' at the 2013 IWSC.
In 2013, the company was admitted to the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, again a first for the first and only UK wine producer to be quoted on AIM.
With 40 hectares of vines in Kent and 21 hectares in West Sussex, they only plant the three classic Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, but unlike Champagne, Gusbourne has planted Burgundian clones of the first two grapes. This means that the yield is lower, but the fruit is riper and makes the wines with a lot more flavour.
I have loved these wines since the 2007 vintage, and am really pleased to be one of only three stockists in Scotland.