Its true, there is a wine for everyone, but of course we don’t need to be told that! English Wine Week however gives us extra reason to be indulgent and experimental with our mindsets and tastebuds – from vintage wine to the sparkling experiments of today.
With new grape varieties, better growing techniques & improved disease control winemaking in the UK is stepping into spotlight. There are currently 502 vineyards across England and Wales (Stat: English Wine Producers) and from this we have selected our most exciting newcomers to introduce you too!
Nyetimber based in Hampshire, aims to make the ‘finest English sparkling wine there is’ championing themselves upon only using grapes from their vineyard. Did you know, the first recording of the then ‘Nitimbreha’ estate was in 1068, in the Domesday Book? This certainly resonates identity and establishment. With a balanced but defiant depth to taste, Nyetimbers vineyards are the first to be devoted exclusively to the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Champaign grapes: chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir. Now who could argue with that!
Tillington Single Vineyard
Did you know an all English Orange Bacchus wine now exists? To both surprise and delight audiences, Chapel Down cater with a classic non-vintage brut as well as a deliciously aromatic white flint dry. This experimentation and nod to tradition allowed them to be shortlisted for English Wine Producer of the Year in 2016, and to repeatedly be official wine supplier to Num. 10 Downing Street. It is the realise of the second vintage which catches our gaze, with Kit’s Coty Chardonnay of 2014 hard to ignore when left to mature in old French oak for 9 months.
Chapel Down Kit’s Coty
Blanc de Blancs 2013
£240.00 per case >
The family ethos of Ridgeview is what instantly appeals, the second generation developing promisingly from the companies first 1996 Vintage. With purpose built winery and impressive underground cellar for second fermentation, all production remains on site and true to heritage. In fact, Ridgeviews trademark Merret honours Englishman Christopher Merret for founding the traditional method of sparkling wine production in 1662, 30 years before the technique was documented in champagne. From this Ridgeview maintains a London connection when naming all wines, from the Bloomsbury NV to the Ridgeview Fitzrovia.
In Appledore, Ashford, theres Gusbourne Estate and Andrew Weeber. Beginning in 2004, Gusbourne are the first and only UK wine producer ever to be quoted on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. However this is no surprise, considering the mission statement ‘There are no short cuts, just hard work, meticulous attention to detail and patience in abundance.’ With a cemented vision for creating the finest wines in the world, the Blanc De Blanc instates a constant flagship with hand selected Burgundian clone Chardonnay. The Rose additionally stands out for delicate fruit flavours that can be ageworthy and consistently trusted.
Blanc de Blanc
With Herve Jestin at the helm, Hambledon boasts 50 acres of vineyards in the only gravity-fed winery in the UK. A labour of love and restoration, Hambledon resides upon two key ingredients to prestige, using the best possible raw ingredients and working with the best winemakers in the business. The vineyards success interestingly holds thanks largely to the soil which supports it. The chalk which formed upon the seabed of the Paris basin 65 million years ago acts as the secret weapon to make these wines just so good, from the ground up. With aromas of seville orange and dried apricot and citrus acidity, the Premiere Cuvee is our choice as having complexion to comprehend, with the Classic Curvee Rose having a hue of red onion skin to tempt us for later.
With the therefore warm, lively and enthusing English Wine scene growing in asset and taste, we cannot wait to see (and try!) what comes next.
You can view more info on the English Wine Producers website here.