What's special about Lyme Bay's Brut Reserve English Sparkling?

English Sparkling Wine Lyme Bay Winery

The Lyme Bay Brut Reserve isn’t a Prosecco, as that can only be made in Italy. However, it’s very Prosecco Superiore-like which is how I explain it in simple terms to my Prosecco-loving customers. It has fruity aromas of apple, lemon and peach with a dry (8.5g sugar/litre), well-balanced, refreshing acidic taste which is soft on the palate and easy to drink. I’m really pleased to have this wonderful sparkling as part of my range this year (until it runs out and then I have to wait till March 2019 for the next vintage!).
So after much tasting (hard job I know) of English sparkling wines over the last few years, the Lyme Bay Brut Reserve really stood out. Most I found are very Champagne-like whereas the Lyme Bay had characteristics found in Prosecco. It doesn’t have full on yeasty notes with a strong, heavy and over acidic flavour that many have, which of course appeal to certain palates, but not mine nor my customers generally.
So I was curious why Lyme Bay’s particular English sparkling differed so much from other English Sparkling Wines. A few reasons:
1) The grapes. The quality and blend. It’s made with:
• Chardonnay- which adds a touch of body and balance
• Pinot Blanc - displays some very subtle red berry flavours
• Seyval Blanc - brings the classic lightness and zest
• Reichensteiner - keeping the acidity in check and rounds everything out
Most English Sparkling Wines are made with the traditional Champagne grapes ie, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
2) The fermentation process. The wine is made using the Traditional Method, which is the same method as Champagne and the 2nd fermentation is for approximately 9 months. Many English Sparkling Wines, as well as Champagne, are fermented for longer, usually 18 months plus. The longer the fermentation the more yeasty and heavier a wine tends to be. So fermenting for just 9 months gives the wine it’s lightness, similar to Prosecco.
3) The Winemaker. Lastly, but by no means least, the Head Winemaker, Liam Idzikowski. I had the pleasure to meet Liam at Lyme Bay Winery in Axminster, Devon during my visit in July this year. He’s extremely experienced and has a modern approach to winemaking all of which contributes to making their Brut Reserve. A truly wonderful sparkling wine.
And the bottle is just so lovely. Oh and then there’s the Lyme Bay Sparkling Rosé Brut. That’s something else!
Julia Phillips
Just Perfect Wines
11 October 2018

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