A BOUTIQUE wine producer has won its ninth award in nine months for the first sparkling wine of its kind to be produced in the UK.

Fox & Fox in Mayfield has been awarded a gold in the 2020 Pinot Gris Global Masters for its Inspiration Brut Blanc de Gris 2014.

The accolade is the ninth gold medal the Sussex winegrowers, husband and wife team Jonica and Gerard Fox, have been awarded since March.

The first Pinot Gris varietal sparkling wine to be produced in the UK, Inspiration is a fine example of the innovative wines made by the creative pair.

The unique blanc de blancs, which includes a dash of Chardonnay to add balance, was described by the Global Masters judges as: “Lovely, persistent, intense and very fresh.

“Open, aromatic and bready with serious aromatics, ripe apple and touch of apple skin.

“Delicious palate, really tangy, lots of yeasty character, full, with ripe apple and dried apple character too, with this tangy lifted lingering character, some green apple bite there too.”

The Argus: The Inspiration Brut Blanc de Gris 2014 by Fox & FoxThe Inspiration Brut Blanc de Gris 2014 by Fox & Fox

The Global Masters marks a distinct change in the way wine is judged. For the first time, preconceived notions of the importance of location are pushed aside, allowing wines from across the globe to be judged purely on style and price.

Each tasting identifies the best examples of its grape variety from all around the world and from every price bracket.

All Masters competitions are judged blind, by Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and senior buyers.

On receiving Fox & Fox’s ninth gold medal this year, viticulturist and winemaker Jonica Fox said: “We are once again humbled and excited to find out that some of the world’s top wine professionals have ranked our sparkling wine as gold standard.

“It is a real triumph for English Pinot Gris too, and as Inspiration is a wine that is dear to my heart, it really is a joy to see it recognised in such a world-renowned competition.”

It comes after Fox & Fox were named the second best sparkling wine producers in the world in the Sommelier Wine Awards (SWA) earlier this year.

The producers were named the SWA’s runner-up Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year, which marked the first time in the international competition’s history that an English vintner has featured in the competition category.

Out of thousands of producers from across the globe who entered the 14th annual competition, Fox & Fox was one of only seven to be recognised.

Fox & Fox was also awarded three gold medals in the competition for its limited-edition cuvée, Chairman’s Vat Brut 2014, its Mosaic Rosé Brut 2015 and its Meunier Blanc de noirs Brut 2014.

Jonica said: “Both Gerard and I are incredibly proud of all the wines we produce.

“Recognition like this makes the hard work which goes into growing grapes and creating exciting wines in England’s marginal climate all worthwhile.”

At the Independent English Wine Awards this year, Fox & Fox were recognised for their 2015 Essence Pure Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs.

The producers also picked up four gold medals at the Glass of Bubbly Awards, for their 2014 Chairman’s VAT Brut, their 2015 Mosaic Brut, 2014 Tradition Magnum and their 2014 Expression Rosé.

Since planting their vineyard in 2004, Jonica and Gerard have adopted a careful attitude to viticulture and winemaking, ensuring that each vintage English sparkling wine is respectful and reflective of both the season and place.

All wines are made with grapes grown exclusively in Sussex, and the vineyard just outside Mayfield is currently planted with Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier.

The producers’ award-winning wines are available to order online at www.foxandfox.wine/shop.

Wines can be gift-wrapped and delivered safely. The last courier despatch in time for Christmas will be Monday, while orders for New Year’s Eve need to be placed before December 28.