Wine & Food

    Wines of the week: watch the rugby final with a glass of English fizz

    1 November 2019

    2010 Ambriel Classic Cuvée, 12%vol, (£72.50 per magnum)

    It’s the Rugby World Cup final this weekend and drink will be drunk; English drink, one hopes, preferably in magnum. And what better English drink than this exquisite fizz from West Sussex? A traditional method sparkler of stunning elegance and style, aged for 6 years on the lees, it’s all toast, nuts and baked apple and is what they serve at Buck House, no less.

    2015 Aristea Méthode Cap Classique Blanc, 12%vol, (£48 per magnum; Private Cellar)

    In the interests of balance, I heartily recommend this South African sparkler too. A copper-bottomed belter, it was served on the first day of term at the SpectatorWine School the other week to whoops of delight. A traditional method blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it’s richly flavoured, citrusy, buttery and toasty with a long, dry finish and is, quite simply, class in a glass.

    2014 Ch. Pey La Tour ‘Réserve du Château’, 14.5%vol, (£24.99 per magnum; Waitrose)

    And for lunch after the game, how about this remarkably fine yet modestly priced magnum of claret? Part of the mighty Dourthe empire (owners, too, of Ch. Belgrave, Ch. La Garde &c), it’s Merlot-based, with splashes of Cab Sauv and Petit Verdot for colour/structure, and is delectably soft, supple and juicy. It’s super stylish and far finer than its Bordeaux Supérieur category would suggest.