The Champagne house is planting vineyards of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in Kent, to be used in a line of high-end English sparkling wines marketed under the name Domaine Evremond. According to The Drinks Business, Taittinger reps say that the plots purchased have the ideal “terroir” for sparkling wines with chalky soil and south-facing slopes for optimal sun exposure.
Taittinger’s investment in the English wine industry is just another step in England’s transformation from non-contender into respected region. Helped along in some part by climate change, England’s vineyards are producing grapes that are brightly acidic and particularly terrific for sparkling wines. Need proof? In a blind tasting held this past October, an English sparkling beat Champagnes from Pol Roger, Veuve Clicquot and, now somewhat ironically, Taittinger. That said, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, the president of the company, made a point of saying that people shouldn’t compare Domaine Evremond’s sparklings to Champagne. Instead, the wines are meant to express England’s capacity for producing its own, unique cuvees.
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Don’t expect to be drinking any of Taittinger’s new English bubbles by next New Year’s, though, or any time soon. The Champagne house hopes to start planting the vineyards by May 2017 and releasing wines in the late 2020s. In the meantime, pop open a bottle of one of these excellent examples of English wines.