Turns out that the hills of England’s southeast are an outcrop of the very limestone ridge that runs through northeast France. And the temperature is just one or two degrees warmer than Champagne, only 90 miles away. Ergo, British bubbly, from producers Nyetimber Vineyard and RidgeView.
Nyetimber, a Sussex estate owned by Celine Dion songwriter Andy Hill, won a gold medal in 2003 at the prestigious Paris Vinalies Internationales for its 1995 Première Cuvée Blanc de Blancs and a silver medal for its Classic Cuvée. Nyetimber is now on sale in the United States. And despite the merciless exchange rate, the wine is a remarkably good value. The award-winning Nyetimber 1995 vintage sells for $460 a case, compared with more than $1,500 a case for 1995 Dom Perignon. (Be warned: It might be hard to find. Nyetimber and RidgeView each produce just 30,000 bottles per year; Champagne produces 310 million).