Digby Fine English is tilting at the top. This is a negociant house (although they’ve recently bought the 4 hectare Hilden Vineyard in Kent), and the wines are made by consultant winemaker Dermot Sugrue. They’ve achieved a lot of success in competitions. The team behind the label are Trevor Clough and Philip Wright.
Digby Fine English Brut NV England
12% alcohol. From chalky soils in Dorset, Kent, Sussex and Hampshire, this is a blend of the three classic varieties, with a slight emphasis on Pinot Noir. Full malolactic. Base wine has 5% barrel fermentation, 20% reserve wines. Disgorged February 2020. This is toasty and has some nice bready richness, but also some lemony freshness with a taut herbal flourish on the finish, as well as citrus pith and good acidity. There’s plenty of generosity, with a touch of peach and pear richness alongside the toastiness. Complex and mouthfilling, showing a touch of development to complement the fruit purity that’s really nice. 90/100
Digby Fine English Reserve Brut 2013 England
12% alcohol. From Sussex, Hampshire, Kent and Dorset. Partial malolactic, disgorged September 2020, 8 g/l dosage. This is a rich, complex expression of English sparkling wine with good structure and purity. There’s a touch of toast, some bread, a lively spiciness and then concentrated citrus fruit with some pear skin and peach richness. It’s really vital and there’s a lovely balance between the keen acidity, the citrus freshness, and the slightly richer notes filling in the bass end. The dosage adds volume and a touch of sweetness on the finish. Very stylish: accessible and also serious. 92/100