While many of us tend to choose wines from European and New World countries, England’s wines are coming of age, rivaling – and even outshining –more established wine producing regions.
Production of English wine now exceeds 5 million bottles per year, spread across more than 500 vineyards. In international competitions, it’s no longer unusual to see English wines among the medal-winners. That’s something we can all drink to!
Find your ideal English wine below and raise a glass to English Wine Week!
If you like… zesty, fruity Sauvignon Blancs
Try… Camel Valley Bacchus Dry www.camelvalley.com
This fabulous and award-winning white is from Cornwall and makes the perfect complement to seafood, especially shellfish like clams and oysters.
The wine is fruity, zesty and dry, but be warned – this is a popular wine that sells out fast every year, so get your orders in early!
If you like… peachy French Chardonnays
Try…Lyme Bay Chardonnay www.lymebaywinery.co.uk
Dry and well-rounded, Lyme Bay Chardonnay has delicate buttery flavours coupled with a wonderful aroma combining peach and honey.
This wine is best enjoyed lightly chilled, and it’s perfect for drinking with chicken, calamari or soft cheese.
If you like…rosé wines
Try…Ryedale Vineyards Rosie www.ryedalevineyards.co.uk
Yorkshire might not be the first place that springs to mind for English equivalents, but this rosé, a follow-up to a well-deserved silver medal winner, is sure to change that.
It’s a crisp but creamy with strawberry flavours on the palate as well as a subtle hint of spice. Serve well chilled and keep your fingers crossed for fine weather!
If you like… sparkling Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Try… Gribble Bridge Sparkling White 2013 www.biddendenvineyards.com
Kent is the ‘Garden of England’ so it’s not surprising that this county’s vineyards grow excellent grapes that make for some delicious sparkling wines. This one is from Biddenden Vineyards and was a UKVA bronze medal winner in 2016.
It’s clean, fresh and has great depth and structure, and it was made using a traditional method combining Pinot Noir, Reichensteiner and Scheurebe.
If you like… a hearty red
Try… Denbies Redlands www.denbies.co.uk
The Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey has been family owned and run since 1984. This particular red wine was a bronze medal winner in 2015 and has a medium-bodied dry palate.
It’s made using a blend of red grape varieties and is smooth, rich and velvety, with hints of red berry fruits. If you’re drinking Redlands with food, it makes a great match for red meats and English cheeses.
If you like… smooth and silky European Pinot Noirs
Bolney Wine Estate Pinot Noir 2015 www.bolneywineestate.com
Pinot Noir is a tricky wine to produce in any country, so it’s particularly impressive that this English example is an award winner.
Bolney’s Pinot Noir is a fragrant, medium-bodied red with flavours of cherry and toasted oak, and it makes a great accompaniment to cheese or game.
If you like… a chilled red in summer
Try…Three Choirs Ravens Hill www.three-choirs-vineyards.co.uk
Not everyone has tried red wine chilled for summer drinking, but this red from England works a treat. Based in the Cotswolds, the Three Choirs vineyard is one of England’s oldest.
This particular wine of theirs is a deep, ruby-coloured red with aromas of blackberry and cherry. You might also pick up lightly toasted oak from the wine’s American barrel aging.
If you like… French Champagne
Try…Ridgeview Bloomsbury www.ridgeview.co.uk
Located in the South Downs, the Ridgeview wine estate specialises in sparkling wine and is the official supplier to 10 Downing Street. The region’s climate and soil helps Ridgeview produce wines that often surpass Champagne when it comes to quality.
This particular sparkling white is made largely using the Chardonnay grape, supported by Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for added depth. It goes very well with salmon or smoked trout, and it also makes the perfect fizz for celebrations!
If you like…a sweet dessert wine
Try… Eglantine Vineyard North Star 2011 www.eglantinevineyard.co.uk
If you enjoy varieties like Beaumes De Venise Muscat, you might want to sample this indulgent English alternative. North Star 2011 is a so-called ‘ice wine’ from Nottinghamshire in the midlands.
Better still, it’s a UKVA Gold Medal and Trophy winner, offering a delicious balance of sweet and acidic notes and made from the Madeleine Angevine grape. It makes a fantastic after-dinner drink but also works well as an unusual and original gift for wine lovers.