Quickly making waves in the wine industry, English sparking wines are becoming increasingly popular across the globe.
An Italian sommelier born and raised in Puglia, I have spent my entire career in hospitality, mainly as a waiter and restaurant manager in Italy and in a few other European countries until 2009, when like Paul on the road to Damascus, I was illuminated by the beauty of the science of wine.
I had a sort of epiphany, that inspired me to embark on my first wine qualifications, allowing me to convert my career entirely into wine. I moved to London at the end of 2011 because of the great job opportunities in the field of wine that the capital has to offer, beginning an joyful and limitless journey that is still on the course today…
I joined Angler Restaurant at South Place Hotel in 2019 as Assistant Head Sommelier, after being attracted to the great reputation of the restaurant. After a break during the pandemic, I became Head Sommelier in 2021. I have always been in awe with the concept of Angler as a gastronomic experience-oriented philosophy destination; I enjoy the level of interaction I am able to establish with guests and the delicacy of balanced dishes created by Chef Gary Foulkes.
2. We were thrilled to hear about 3BAR’s new partnership with Nyetimber, and of course the complimentary glass of Nyetimber being offered with Angler’s tasting menu.
I was so excited to hear the news that South Place Hotel was partnering with Nyetimber this simmer, as it perfectly compliments the concept of the gastronomy across the building. From the casual dining of the Chophouse and 3Bar, passing to the much more formal, business meals in the events department or through the hotel’s room service, to end in the full gastronomy concept of Angler.
The elegance and the finesse of Nyetimer’s wines marry wonderfully with Angler, it’s atmosphere, menu and in particular the seafood. We offer and encourage our guests to enjoy the glass of Classic Cuvee poured by the Magnum size bottle at the beginning of our 7-Course Tasting Menu, as the toasty and creamy character of the wine pair perfectly with the delicate savoury canapes.
3. Could you tell us a bit more about Nyetimber as a brand and their wines?
Nyetimer is a benchmark for English fizz. Nyetimber began in 1986 when an American couple, Stuart and Sandy Moss, bought the then 49-hectare Nyetimber estate with the pioneering vision to produce world-class sparkling wines from Champagne varieties on chalk-rich soils.
After planting their first vineyard in 1988, the couple began to release some now-signature wines which established Nyetimber’s reputation. Under the current ownership of Dutch entrepreneur Eric Heerema (who bought Nyetimber in 2006) and the appointment of Canadian winemaker duo, Cherie Spriggs and Brad Greatrix, the expansion of the Estate and its reputation is notorious. Today, the established brand is able to offer a vast range of products in every style, ranging from non-vintage wines to the finest prestige Cuvee, including Blanc de Blancs with a rose and demi-sec sweet style, to single-vineyard Cuvee, just as every top Champagne house does in France.
4. We’re seeing a real increase in the popularity and availability of English sparkling wines at the moment. Why do you think this is?
The English fizz products are of top quality, characterised by delicacy and freshness, perfectly suited for celebrations. The rise of specialists and distributors of these products is what is making the difference.
5. What is your view on English sparkling wine and the growth of the industry?
The key reason for the rise of English fizz is the climate change conditions; the marginal climate of England was notoriously unsuitable for viticulture, but with time has become warmer yet remaining relatively cool – ideal for fine wine production.
Considering the rise of the English sparkling wine over the last 30 years, its growth and development over time has led to a number of things which have established it as a key player in the industry. It’s growth has seen a generation of talented winemakers, the birth of alternative styles like the roses, the ageability of these wines, the vintage variation, sites selection and the potential for many wineries to build up their own library or reserve wines in order to showcase a richer, broader offering.
All these elements are playing an essential role in the rising popularity of the English fizz. The success of today is the result of the potential of the past, of the courage and the hard work of the pioneers – like Nyetimber.
6. Do you have any Nyetimber favourites?
The Vintage Blanc de Blancs is my favourite, I consider it a great example of delicacy and versatility, try it with Angler’s Dove Sole meunière.
7. Why is Nyetimber such a great wine for the summer months?
Generally speaking, during the summer months, consumers search for wines that pair well with the heat of the season. Nyetimber possesses high acidity, bone dry structure and complexity to make it the right choice. The celebratory style makes the rest..
8. What dishes or seasonal ingredients would you recommend pairing with various Nyetimbers?
Nyetimber products are versatile therefore pair beautifully with a vast range of foods. During the summer months, for example, I would recommend enjoying a cream-based dessert with rhubarb or strawberry to be paired with the Cuvee Cherie/demi-sec. Our Afternoon Tea may be the perfect occasion to try, or pair the wine with a classic Eton Mess!
In terms of classic food dishes, a squid ink risotto would pair brilliantly with the Classic Cuvee, or Lobster Bisque with the Tillington Single Vineyard Vintage is an unmissable pairing.