Champagne Taittinger has recently announced it will produce a range of premium English sparkling wines in Kent, South East England, under the brand Domaine Evremond.
Along with their UK partner Hatch Mansfield Ltd, Taittinger has acquired 69 hectares of farmland at Selling Court Farm that will be planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes.
Only 40 hectares will be planted, on chalk soil and south-facing slopes.
The domain has been named Domaine Evremond, after Charles de Saint-Evremond (1614-1703), a Frenchman and the first true ambassador for Champagne, who fueled its popularity in England during the late sixteen hundreds at the court of Charles II.
Commenting on the launch of the new venture, President Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger commented “We believe we can produce a high quality English sparkling wine drawing upon on our 80 years of winemaking expertise. Our aim is to make something of real excellence in the UK’s increasingly temperate climate, and not to compare it with champagne or any other sparkling wine.”
This is not the first time Taittinger plants sparkling wine vineyards outside of Champagne. In 1987 it launched Domaine Carneros in the USA with the Kopf family of Kobrand Wine & Spirits.
UK being Taittinger’s number one export market, with Domaine Evremond the iconic Champagne house hopes to replicate the success of Domaine Carneros, working alongside its UK agent Hatch Mansfield.
To this regards, Hatch Mansfield’s Managing Director, Patrick McGrath commented “We are delighted to be working with Taittinger on this project and we have a joint ambition to produce very high quality wines using our combined expertise. As a team, we have a real belief in the potential of English sparkling wine.”
In 2014 the UK imported 32.6 million bottles of Champagne, versus 30.7 in 2013, confirming itself once again as Champagne’s N1 export market.
Meanwhile the UK sparkling wine industry experienced record-breaking sales in 2014 with 6.3 million bottles of English wine produced – up 42% on 2013, with almost 500 vineyards now operating throughout England and Wales.
The south-east coast of England presents chalk soil similar to that of Champagne which combined with Britain’s increasingly mild climate due to global warming makes it a credible terroire for the production of quality sparkling wines.