The UK’s first prosecco-style wine launches in East Anglia

Ben Witchell at Flint Vineyard Picture: Flint Vineyard

Ben Witchell at Flint Vineyard Picture: Flint Vineyard - Credit: Archant

Flint Vineyard unveils its exciting new wine.

Norfolk-based Flint Vineyard has revealed it was the first English vineyard to begin fermenting a sparkling wine in the style of a Prosecco, using the 'Charmat' method. The new wine was officially released last week and is Flint's first sparkling wine to go on sale.

The Charmat method, named after the Frenchman Eugene Charmat who patented it, is different to the technique used in traditional English sparkling wines, which use the Champagne method. With the Charmat method the secondary fermentation takes place in a tank rather than a bottle resulting in a wine that is more fruit-driven and approachable.

Winemaker, Ben Witchell, is keen to point out that his Charmat is different to Prosecco, commenting: 'This is not a simple, fruit-bomb wine. I used methods such as partial barrel ageing and extended time on yeast lees with the production of the base wine to try and achieve more complexity and texture in the final wine.'

Flint's Charmat Rosé has a vibrant rose-pink colour and a wonderfully aromatic nose of forest fruits. The palate is crisp with a texture and minerality to complement the fruit and fine bubbles coming from the slow, cool secondary fermentation.

It is brave move that demonstrates English wine producers are becoming more confident in the styles of wines they can create.

This new style of sparkling wine may cause interest and some concern amongst the traditional UK sparkling producers who have spent a long time building a reputation for excellent bottle-fermented fizz. However, Ben, who also has a traditional-method sparkling wine already in production, believes that the Charmat method should be seen as an innovative development rather than a threat. He said: 'We use different grape varieties and press fractions to those that we use in our bottle fermented wine. And we've deliberately packaged our Charmat to make it clear that it is not a traditional method.'

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Flint Vineyard's Charmat Rosé is now on sale at their cellar door and a number of premium local stockists and restaurants.