A Sussex sparkling wine has toppled French champagne as the best bubbly in the world.

RidgeView’s 2006 Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs, made on the South Downs, was named the best sparkling wine in the world by connoisseurs.

Only winemakers in the Champagne region of France are allowed to call their sparklers the recognisable name, however the Sussex sham-pagne, made at the RidgeView Wine Estate in Fragbarrow Lane, Ditchling Common, beat eight French Champagnes, from producers including Taittinger and Heidseck to the top of the list.

The Roberts family which run the estate said the prestigious award had helped boost sales of their sparkling wine.

They claim the unusual combination of chalk and clay on this area of the South Downs has an ‘uncanny similarity’ to the Champagne region of France.

A spokeswoman for the Decanter magazine award put the Roberts family in “an elite rank of world class wine producers”.