April 5, 2016 – A winery from England, Ridgeview Estate, took an impressive haul of Gold, Silver and three Bronze medals for their sparkling wines at TEXSOM 2016.
Ridgeview Estate, founded in 1995 was the first UK winery to export sparkling wine to the United States and it is also the largest exporter. The winery is a family affair and in just 16 years they have racked up more than 200 gold medals and 27 trophies in national and international competitions.
As Rodney Dangerfield might have said, until recently English wines got no respect. In fact the English themselves liked to quote famous British actor, Peter Ustinov’s quip, “I imagine hell like this: Italian punctuality, German humor and English wine.” But things have changed thanks to the determination of people like Mike and Christine Roberts and their family. Mike was a frequent visitor to Champagne and was convinced that Sussex in the south of England could produce great sparkling wine equal to Champagne, which is just 100 kilometers or 62 miles south and has the same climate and soil. In the 1980s, English vintners began to move from German varietals such as Müller-Thurgau to the traditional grapes of Champagne – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Traditional grapes married with traditional méthode champenoise has produced winners.
But being made in England was not something to brag about. In fact, Tamara Roberts, the current CEO admitted to wine writer Dorothy Gaiter that they originally hid the word “England” on their label. All that has changed. In 2010 Ridgeview’s Blanc de Blancs was awarded the ultimate accolade with the trophy for best sparkling wine in the world at Decanter World Wine Awards, the only time thistrophy has been awarded to a wine from outside Champagne.
Founded in 2005, TEXSOM was started by Master Sommeliers James Tidwell and Drew Hendricks to help promote professional wine service standards, outline paths for further wine education and certification, and raise public awareness about the professional standards and certifications for sommeliers. Today, the conference draws a total of 1,100 attendees, which include beverage professionals, wine educators and media from over 35 states and 8 countries.
The 2016 competition held at Las Colinas, Texas was the biggest and most international yet attracting over 3,000 entries from 25 countries and 25 US States. There were 67 judges. All five Ridgeview Estate entries won a medal:
Ridgeview Estate sparkling wines have been served to and by Queen Elizabeth. The Fitzrovia Rosé 2004 was served for President Obama on a State visit to Buckingham Palace. Many of the wines are named after famous squares in London such as Cavendish, Grosvenor, Belgravia and Fitzrovia. The wines are broadly distributed across the United States with a suggested retail of around $40 a bottle.