LWF favorites recap: English sparkling

Hambledon's Non-vintage Classic Cuvée, Brut

Grape(s): Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier

Producer: from the chalky soils of Hambledon vineyards in Hampshire, England

Where: Let me look into it a bit more. I'm not sure if this one's on the export circuit.

Do Brits have a phrase like je ne sais quoi?

If they do, this is it. I'm not sure I can describe it but I'll try. The art of traditional method sparkling wine-making comes from la méthode champenoise (the Champagne method) which encompasses a series of precise steps to ensure a consistent, highly-revered presentation to the world no matter where the wine originates or the grapes used to make it. It's a tell, if you will, of a centuries-old course of action that mandates the drinker to alert when that definitive contour fills the mouth. It's a vibrant creaminess - like turning cartwheels on a cloud - that comes from a balance of soaring sharp acid and pillow softening lees critically bound by a second fermentation and ageing in bottle. I sigh a smile inside every time I get to experience it.

Crystalline pastel with an aroma of yellow apple, citrus florals and an ethereal peach piquance, Hambledon delivers all that is expected in a top-notch sparkling. Spirited by a 12% abv and feather light oak, this cuvée slow drifts on the tongue in a soft shimmer.