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My Desert Island Fizz - Liz Smith

Wine Director Liz Smith on flying the flag for an English sparkling star

Sand, sea, bubbles and hope ...

“If I were stranded on a desert island, I would have to have a bottle of South Ridge Cuvée Merret, cooling in a rockpool … as I quickly seek out a shell to serve as an impromptu flute!

For a start, it’s just so downright delicious. Who wouldn’t be buoyed up by its crisp, citrusy, nectarine fruit and toasty, brioche notes dancing across your tongue on a fine sea of tiny bubbles?

More than that, it’s a bottle of hope - British derring-do and against-all-odds achievement. After all, when we championed the first vintage back in 1994, no-one had heard of English fizz – let alone rated it. Since then, this gorgeous sparkler – made in a style imitated by Dom Pérignon in Champagne – has helped win the Roberts family’s Sussex estate over 170 awards, including the trophy for Best International Sparkling Wine (three times).

South Ridge Cuvée Merret has even beaten big name Champagne like Taittinger (who have now bought land nearby) in ‘blind tastings’. Which proves anything’s possible – even desert island rescue! Or I might just use the empty bottle to send a message ... another case please.”