Last year, I there was much discussion online via Twitter and various blogs about trying to find a new name for English Sparkling Wine. I am not really sure that English Sparkling Wine needs a name to classify it but I got drawn into the whole debate and came up with a name for it myself: Albion.
I have always thought that Albion would be a good name for UK sparkling wines, and here are my reasons,
1. Historical – It makes reference to the UK using the historical name for Great Britain deriving from Gaelic or Celtic (I think)
2. Geographical / Historical – Albion is also thought to derive from the White Cliffs of Dover – and Kent (South East) is where a lot (but I realise not all) the best sparkling wines seem to come from.
3. Colour – Albion also means white – and most sparkling wine is white – although this would make Albion Rosé a bit of a contradiction!
4. I think it sounds pretty good – Albion Brut, Albion Blanc de Blancs, Albion Vintage
5. It sounds better than Britagne!!
Some people thought that Albion was a little bit Last Night of the Proms-ish and a bit flag-wavey. Others thought that it reminded them too much of “perfidious Albion“, a rather perjorative phrase referring to the treachery of and double crossing by British Government reaching back to the 13th century.
The two main front runners for this are Britagne and Merret. Britagne is obviously portmanteau word of Britain (or British) and Champagne. I don’t like it very much, it reminds me too much of Pommagne! I quite like Merret – this is from English physician and scientist Christopher Merret who was the first to document the process of adding sugar to wine to make sparkling wine in the 17th century. Ridgeview in Sussex have already adopted Merret as a generic term for English Sparkling wine.
Other names, some not so good, I have seen are: Celebritain, Celebrion, Celestar, Verve and Crown!
At Fareham Wine Cellar, we still refer to English Sparkling Wine the likes of Hambledon Vineyard, Cottonworth and Raimes, as English Sparkling Wine. I am sure we will be for many years! Unless the use of Hampshire Sparkling Wine, Sussex Sparkling Wine etc. becomes more important, as I am sure it will do. Watch this space.