It’s an invasion of perhaps the most pleasant kind: Champagne house Taittinger have purchased 69 hectares of farmland near Chilham, in Kent, with the intention of producing an English sparkling wine.
The company is reported to be investing £4,000,000 in to planting 40 hectares of this land with pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier grapes, and aims to bottle the first produce in five years’ time.
Their wine will be called Domaine Évremond, after Charles de Saint-Évremond, the Frenchman who is said to have introduced Londoners to Champagne in the 17th century. Taittinger claim that this wine will be a tribute to the UK’s longstanding support for Champagne, although basing their vineyard in one of the counties most renowned for our domestic sparkling wine does suggest they feel this support may be waning.
The South-East of England is renowned for having a very similar composition to the land in Champagne, largely thanks to its chalky soil. Taittinger are not the first French organisation to invest in the area, although their stiffest competition will undoubtedly come from local winemakers, who are justly winning an international reputation for producing top quality English sparkling wines.
Popular Kentish vineyards include:
For a full list of the county’s vineyards, which number over 50, visit www.kentvineyards.com