We are all well aware of the qualities that Champagne holds as a wine and how the heavily protected region of France produces many award winning wines and traditions for the world to enjoy. Now, not so far behind, especially with its wines, is English sparkling and so much so is its rise to fame that Champagne itself is investing for the future by planting vines on English soil. So if what many would refer to as the king of wines, Champagne, sees fit to invest in English sparkling wine then it can’t be doing too bad!
I was happy to attend with other respected wine journalists the first planting of vines at Domaine Evremond. A Chardonnay vine I planted and I hope it goes on to produce some fine fruits in the many years to come for people to continue to enjoy English fizz!
Champagne Taittinger acquired the Kent farmland in autumn 2015, announcing the launch of Domaine Evremond that December. The initial planting to bring the Domaine Evremond vineyard to life will take place during May 2017, with plans to plant a total of 40 hectares over the next two to three years.
Taittinger is the only Grande Marque Champagne House to be run by its eponymous family and is the first Grande Marque Champagne to establish a vineyard in the UK to make premium English sparkling wine. The first English sparkling wine from Domaine Evremond should be released for drinking in 2023, after three years of ageing in bottle.
Comments Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger: “Our family has always had a great affection for the UK and for Kent – my father Jean Taittinger twinned Canterbury with Reims when he was mayor of the latter in the 1950s. We have been very impressed by the quality of English sparkling wine being produced, and we believe the combination of chalk soils, climate and topography of our site in Kent are ideal for producing quality sparkling wine. These attributes are perfect for grape growing, and are very similar to the terroir in Champagne, for us it was a natural step to do this.”
The Evremond vineyard is a joint venture between Champagne Taittinger, its UK agency Hatch Mansfield Ltd, and friends. It reflects the family focused philosophies and mutual respect of both companies.
Patrick McGrath MW, MD of Hatch Mansfield added: “Ultimately we will be aiming to produce 300,000 bottles per year of premium English sparkling wine, but this will not be for six years or more as the vines will take time to reach the stage where they are producing the quantity of quality fruit required. It will be a gradual process.”
The Taittinger family has over 80 years of winemaking expertise in Champagne and plans to use this, alongside its British team, to help create a Premium English sparking wine of real excellence. The family has already had considerable success planting vineyards for sparkling wine in the USA in 1987 when they launched ‘Domaine Carneros by Taittinger’, a joint venture with the Kopf family of Kobrand Wine & Spirits.