For some time Ridgeview Estate has been near the top of the English Sparkling Wine game. Along with Nyetimber, it was Ridgeview that ignited my passion for English wines. The wines of Ridgeview tackle the wines of Champagne head on and impress across the range. The Estate is situated on the chalk soils of the South Downs, just north of Ditchling, with easy access from the A23. The tasting room sits above the winery, and from the tasting room you can enjoy beautiful views across the vineyards. Everyone that attended the trip to Ridgeview promptly lost their tasting notes, likely due to the subsequent 8 bottle tasting of Bordeaux. As such I will have to keep my the comments about the wine more general that the usual articles.
During our visit we tasted 5 wines from the range and these were presented by a knowledgeable hostess. I am pretty certain it was only the Blanc De Noirs we missed out on tasting. Ridgeview is one of the few wineries I have visited where every single wine has impressed and I suspect this is due to keeping a narrow focus on English sparkling wine using the traditional Champagne grapes. The fine quality of the glassware is also noteworthy in keeping with the status of Ridgeview as a top producer and demonstrates attention to detail across the board at the estate.
I would recommend the wines of Ridgeview as a noble alternative to Champagne rather than a substitute. My preference within the range probably tends towards the Cavendish, a very reasonably priced Pinot dominated blend. The greater proportion of the Pinot grapes tends towards a fuller and richer style in keeping with my preferences in Champagne. I am not being patriotic in commending the wines of Ridgeview – this estate is undeniably producing world class sparkling wine.
Tasting: Tasting at Ridgeview is free of charge – prior reservation preferred for larger groups. We felt under no obligation to buy wine by the bottle but the quality of the wine sold itself. I think almost all of our party came home with a bottle or two.
Tours: Ridgeview also offer tours of the vineyards – contact them for further information. If you are new to the world of wine and visiting wine estates I would strongly recommend a few tours to build your understanding of the wine making process.
Sales: At the time of press Ridgview is open Monday – Sunday 11am – 4pm. The full range of wines are on sale, including some aged offerings from previous vintages and larger formats.
Stockists: The wines of Ridgeview are widely available at wine merchants and supermarkets across the UK including Waitrose and Marks & Spencers.
Conclusions: If you live in Sussex with even a passing interest in wine you need to visit Ridgeview. If you have not tried the wines of Ridgeview yet I would advise going tomorrow or as soon as physically possible.