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"...good wine of any kind from England"? YES! The U.S. Premier...

Posted by Robert Schagrin on January 10, 2012

A Champagne-Style British Affair
NV Ridgeview Cavendish
Vibrant, Classy (and Classic)

"The sparkling wines from Ridgeview Estate [...] are superb and will forever put to rest the notion that England is not capable of making good wine." - Eric Asimov, New York Times

If Ridgeview has anything to say about it, England is capable of making not just good wine, but great wine.

Not to mention great wine at an incredible value. 

Champagne-style sparklers from England have been sort of buzzing around the radar for the last decade or so, pushing up every now and then in the press yet never really seeming to reach their tipping point.

Ridgeview, from both a qualitative and a value perspective, seems poised to prove that this is a serious category that is here to stay.

In Asimov's year-end wine review, not only does he offer the praise quoted above, he finishes: "Best of all, Ridgeview’s sparklers may soon be available on American shores.

Well - they are here.

Indeed, we had heard about Ridgeview and tracked them down this past fall. We tasted and were very impressed; we basically locked down everything we could. We tried to get the wines in before the New Year but in the end it all seemed a bit rushed and the quality and the price here makes these English sparklers a year-round pleasure.

Today we are the first retail store in the U.S. to offer the Ridgeview Cavendish, a classically styled non-vintage cuvée made in the traditional method from all three Champagne grapes - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, all planted on a ridge of limestone over sandstone bedrock in the South Downs of Sussex, England. Longitudinally, we're only 88 miles north of Champagne, which was the inspiration for the Ridgeview estate.

The climate in these parts is semi-continental, which means the nights get quite cool while the daytime temps are warm enough for long enough in the summer that (with careful vineyard maintenance) the grapes can ripen fully - all the while maintaining a beautifully vibrant acidity.

Ridgeview was founded in 1994, and their first vintage was 96. For their Cavendish cuvée, they use nearly equal parts of all three grapes. Accordingly, there's a shock of purity and zesty citrus from the Chardonnay up against vivid red fruits from the Pinot Noir and a richer fleshiness, almost an exotic element that comes thanks to the Pinot Meunier. This is high-toned and tightly focused yet with concentrated berry notes and just a little bit of a toasty, nutty element.

The balance is impressive, the poise admirable, and the longevity is clear. We've specially priced six-packs today with not only present-day partying in mind but also cellaring. The acid as well as fullness of structure promise that it can last right alongside NV Champagne, and I'd fully expect this to live out five years without a problem. 

My final note today has to be about the pricing. Finding true Champagne anywhere close to $30 (and lately finding even Champagne-method sparklers from areas like California, Franciacorta in Lombardia or even a host of Crémants from around France) is getting nearly impossible. I'm very excited about the level of quality that Ridgeview has set for English sparklers as well as about what this country might offer wine-wise in the coming decades. I'd strongly urge you to pay attention to this area and to take a look for yourself here today. 

To order, please click below, email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Robert Schagrin
Managing Partner
Crush Wine & Spirits

NV Ridgeview Cavendish
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