We promise we haven’t lost the plot. They really are good!
Over the years, there has been a lot of bad press about English wines, mainly due to confusing terminology: British wine vs. English wine. So here is what you need to know in a nutshell. Firstly, they are totally different. British wine is made from a grape concentrate. It tends to be pretty cheap and cheerful, but ranks way low down the scale on sophistication; completely lacking any complexity that your average wine drinker would expect. However, English wines are gold. It is the ‘real’ deal made from grapes and grown in the bucolic vineyards of England…and it is delicious.
Two English vineyards, Camel Valley for its 2008 Pinot Noir Rosé Brut and Nyetimber for its 2001 Blanc de Blancs, have recently won gold in the International Wine Challenge 2016, signaling that English wines are finally getting the recognition they deserve. And, lets be frank, wine from England should be of a high quality. Well known for its excellent seasonal produce – rhubarb, blackberries and peaches – with even the French considering English strawberries superior to their own, there is no reason why the English shouldn’t be putting some great vintages up there with the best of them. And these two wines definitely give a nod to the delicate flavours and fragrant fruits from the English countryside.
So, now that there is a whole country of new and unique wines to sample, where should you start first?
Here are our top 6 English wines that we recommend
England is traditionally famous for its light and crispy whites; however, there are a many reds that are worthy of note. The Bolney Wine Estate in West Sussex has been producing red wines similar in quality to the famed New Zealand Pinot Noir, but have a slightly lighter body. Try the 2014 Pinot Noir with strong notes of cherry and oak, perfect for sitting in front of the fire on a chilly winter evening.
If you are a bit more health and organic conscious then the Black Ewe Red from Trevibban Vineyard is for you, picking up the flavours of Padstow in Cornwall, it is full-bodied with notes of black cherries and cloves. So delicious and you can ‘drink responsibly’ know that The Trevibban Vineyard is dedicated to an organic farming ethos and is certified by The Soil Association.
English white wines are the perfect accompaniment to a cool summer evening. When the mood for something a little fruity strikes, pick up a bottle of Classic Cuvée from the Hambledon Vineyard in the south of England. With a vibrant taste of apples, this dry white comes from one of the oldest commercial vineyards in England.
Looking for something quintessentially English? Then sample a glass of the 2010 Winchcombe Downs wine from the Three Choirs Vineyard in Hampshire. It has the unique flavour of nettle and elderflower, making it an interesting and crisp choice for the discerning oenophile.
From the Sixteen Ridges vineyard in Worcestershire comes a rich Pinot Noir Rosé. A dry wine with distinctive flavours of strawberries and raspberries, this wine is delightful at anytime of the year.If you are looking for a bit of pink bubbly for a celebration then the Pinot Meunier Rosé from the Exton Park Vineyard is worthy of attention. From Hampshire this wine has a delicate flowery taste of jasmine and honeysuckle.
Go out and experiment
So there you have it. There are so many fantastic English wines to choose from, and they are only going to get better. So why not try these 6 as a starting point and go from there!