Prosecco and Sparkling Wine Specialist

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Welcome to my Sparkling Blog


Here  you will find articles where I share my discoveries and rambling thoughts about the wonderful world of wine, in particularly my special passions being Prosecco, sparkling wine and glassware.    It would be great to hear your comments.

Julia Philips, Owner of Just Perfect Wines

By Julia Phillips, Oct 14 2018 08:17PM

So the Lyme Bay Brut Reserve is sadly coming to an end (it’s been very successful!). However, there is the new vntage to look forward to, but not until March 2019. In the meantime I was advised to taste their English Sparkling Rosé Brut as an alternative. So when the occasion came to taste it, the expectation was that a friend and I would have just one glass before going out. My assumption being that it would be a bit too Champagne-y as I knew it was fermented for longer than the white Brut Reserve (at least 18 months) so it may not be to my taste.

Upon tasting, it well and truly blew my assumption out of the water! On the nose, it does have some yeasty notes, but they are not overpowering, as it is mixed with wonderful red fruit aromas too. On the palate, it’s just incredible and completely stunning - so beautiful and so elegant. It has subtle red fruits and a perfect balance of acidity and sugar, with a soft creamy finish. It’s a dry Brut style with 10.2g residual sugar made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes and has a ABV of 12%.

So the ‘just one glass’ lead to ‘just another’, and then ‘perhaps a little bit more’ just to be sure it really was THAT good. It certainly is one of those wines you just desire another glass but at the same time you don’t want the bottle to end. All good things come to an end as they say, but luckily there is a bit more stock of this one!

I’m not the only one who thinks this wine is amazing. It was won many awards, namely:

Great British Food Awards 2017: BEST ENGLISH WINE

International Wine Challenge 2017: BRONZE

Decanter World Wine Awards 2017: BRONZE

International Wine & Spirits Competition 2017: SILVER

UKVA Wine Awards 2017: SILVER

And given the reaction from my customers whilst at the Stone Food and Drink Festival this month where I had this wine on taste as a trial, every customer I served that tasted it ended up buying a bottle! And at £27, it's not bought on price.....

Julia Phillips

Just Perfect Wines

14 October 2018

By Julia Phillips, Oct 11 2018 09:55PM

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

Owner at Just Perfect Wines

11 October 2018

By Julia Phillips, Aug 23 2018 08:33PM

Lyme Bay Brut Reserve English Sparkling Wine
Lyme Bay Brut Reserve English Sparkling Wine

Well, yes! I’ve been interested in the development of English Sparkling Wine for a few years and thought it would be great to introduce such a fizz into the retail side of my business and support the local UK industry. However, there was just one problem, I didn’t like it and neither did I think my Prosecco-loving customers would either. The overall quality and presence has improved greatly over recent years and continues to do so. I wanted to like it, but just didn’t. I know many people do like it and taste is subjective but for me, it was oh too similar to Champagne ie, generally too dry, too acidic, too yeasty, over complex with a heavy flavour. I much prefer the fruiter and lighter style of Prosecco, particularly Prosecco Superiore as perhaps you do too? It’s not surprising the English fizz I tried I found similar to Champagne as it’s made using the same method, ie the traditional method and typically the same grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

However, that all changed when I discovered Lyme Bay Winery’s English Sparkling Wine (their Brut Reserve) at a trade tasting a couple of years ago. I was quite shocked that I actually liked it. Not over acidic, not heavy and actually quite Prosecco-like and fruity. A good Prosecco you understand!

So since then I’ve had my eye on them and tasted their fizz at subsequent events ...and still loved it. Of course I adore my premium Prosecco as perhaps you do too if you’ve tried it, but it’s always good to try something different. So this year I planned would be the year to finally trial it within my business and see what my Prosecco-loving customers thought of it.

Nothing is ever simple though is it? I was alarmed to discover that the grapes used to make the Lyme Bay Brut Reserve fizz I liked had changed this year. I was concerned it might have gone more Champagne-like like all the other English Sparkling Wines I’d tried and I wouldn’t like it. However, much to my delight it was even better than previous vintages!! It’s stunning and those that have tasted it already appear to love it too. It’s fresh, light, dry with a fruity aroma and taste, all presented with elegance. I’d compare it to a Brut Prosecco Superiore. I love it for being a beautiful sparkling wine and also because it’s made in England! All good, apart from there’s not much of it left now until the new vintage next year. I think the message has got out just how good it is.

Oh and just one other thing, I discovered that although Lyme Bay Winery are located in Devon they are owned by a company in Leek, Staffordshire not many miles away from Just Perfect Wines HQ. How bizarre is that!

Julia Phillips


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