Thursday, 20 June 2013

English Wine, Epic Name: Breaky Bottom

A few summers ago whilst on Holiday my family and I decided to go on an adventure to the Breaky Bottom Winery in Sussex.  Having tried their sparkler and read about the winery we knew it was an opportunity not to miss.

In a fold in the South Downs about 5 miles outside of Lewes where my father grew up, lies a quaint farm house and winery surrounded by stunning rolling hills and a few acres of beautifully tended vines. In fact, Breaky Bottom is not only known as one of the finest wineries in the country, but also widely regarded as the most picturesque.

Owner and grower Peter Hall first planted at Breaky Bottom in 1974 after realising the potential for grape growing in the UK, especially for the making of sparkling wine. The predominant grape grown there is the seyval blanc grape, making clean and acidic Loire-like wines, flavours which come across brilliantly in some of his older wines once this fairly neutral grape starts to gain complexity.

So after a fantastic tour and Breaky Bottom history lesson by Peter himself it was time to get serious and work our way through a few bottles! So sat in Peter’s cosy living room we were able to try some truly brilliant wines, two of which really stood out:

Sparking Brut 2006- £24.50
A really tight and fresh 100% Seyval Blanc sparkle that has developed beautiful clean fruit with just a touch of toastiness that brings this wine a lovely dry complexity. Not only does it taste fantastic, but this wine is also a multi international award winner! In 2010 it won a Silver Medal in the Decanter World Wine Awards, and if that isn’t enough, it then went on to win a Silver Medal and ‘Best in Class’ at the 2010 International Wine & Spirits Competition. Impressive stuff! This wine can still be purchased via order form from the Breaky Bottom Webpage.

The new 2008 Breaky Bottom vintage is also available in most Waitrose stores and is just as good! 

Kir Royale NV- £25.99 from Quaff Wine
Made in exactly the same fashion as the 2006 Brut but at time of disgorgement a measured dosage of home made cassis is added to the bottle. This gives the wine a lovely rose tinted complexion and adds a hint of blackcurrent to give a more fun, soft, fruity taste making it a perfect wine for summer.

On the whole, Breaky Bottom is a fantastic winery with great history and stunning wines. Although not the household name of Nyetimber or Ridgeview, Breaky Bottom has real charm and taste integrated by the passion and hard work of the Breaky Bottom team. And if you ever find yourself in the area, make sure to visit (booking is necessary) as Peter is utterly fascinating, welcoming and willing to spend hours taking you through all the wine making processes and Breaky Bottom lifestyle. 

Breaky Bottom is now a regular in the Horsley household and is loved by the dashing Oz Clarke himself and featured on his brilliant 'Drink to Britain' TV programme with petrolhead James May.

Have you ever tried some Breaky Bottom? Let us know in the comments!

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