People used to turn their noses up at English wine; now, English winemakers turn up at awards ceremonies to scoop up the plaudits. There are over 500 vineyards in the UK. Wine production has increased from 3 million bottles in 2009 to over 13 million.
Look for EQSW (English Quality Sparkling Wine for the best sparkling wines. These must be made by the traditional method as Champagne, using the same grape varieties: (red) Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and (white) Chardonnay, potentially Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris (pinot grigio). Blanc de Blancs is a sparkling wine made only from white grapes. English vineyards on the North and South Downs have the same chalky subsoil as Champagne. Bacchus an increasingly popular grape.
Here’s a mixed case of the best English ( GB Wine) fine wines and wineries.
Windsor Great Park Sparkling wine 2015
“The” Royal drink celebrating the rebirth of Windsor Castle’s ancient English vineyard – first planted in the reign of Henry II (1154-1189). Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.’ Methode traditionally’- was first introduced by Englishman Sir Christopher Merret to The Royal Society in 1662. Twenty years before Dom Perignon’ made his name across the Channel. Windsor is the oldest and largest inhabited castle ( chateau?) in the world. The park was replanted in 2010. www.windsorgreatparkvineyard.com
November 1086. The first-ever English Cuvee.. “1086” wines are characterized by their balance. 2010 has an elegant pale golden color and complex aromas, including fresh grapefruit, nougat, and a fine minerality. The palate is delicate and generous with great intensity and a lovely touch of vanilla on the delightfully long finish. In 1988, Nyetimber was the first English producer to craft sparkling wine exclusively from the three celebrated grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. Its chief winemaker is Cherie Sprigg. www.nyetimber.com
Crafted from fruit picked at optimal ripeness from multiple mature vineyards, Roebuck Estates Classic Cuvée 2013 is whole-bunch pressed and partially fermented in the finest French oak casks, giving the wine complexity, richness, and elegance. Lees aging for a minimum of 36 months enhance the 2013 vintage character, creating an excellent English sparkling wine and a perfect companion for special occasions and time with friends. Citrus and red fruits, roast nuts, and baked bread. Planted in 2006. Twenty thousand vines are now tended annually in the Upperton, Roman Villa, Waterlands, and Little Brockhurst Farm vineyards in Sussex.
Hambledon Première Cuvée
The Hampshire village is the birthplace of cricket and fine English wine. In 1952, Maj.Gen. Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones produced the country’s first commercial wine. Ian Kellard now owns the 200 acres site. Seville orange and brioche aromas, with hints of dried flowers and toasted hazelnuts. And dried apricot and citrus. www.hambledonvineyard.co.uk.
Wiston Bland de Blancs
Wiston Bland de Blancs is delightfully fresh with the vibrant balance of the 2014 vintage and older reserve wines from 2013 and 2009. Elegant and complete, with great finesse and a long finish, it is the perfect English Sparkling wine to pair with any seafood; its acidity is complementing the richness.
Limited-edition Rosé de Noir is made from the saignée method by drawing color at the initial pressing stage. A delicate rose petal pink with an abundance of fine bubbles. A complex nose dominated by summer fruits alongside honey and toast characters. The Wiston Estate in Sussex has been in the Goring family since 1743. The vineyards were first planted in 2006.
Sixteen Ridges Light Bodied Pinot Red
Round and fruity with hints of spice, this light-bodied red has cherry, raspberry, and earthy notes to the aroma and the palate, with a subtle soft oak finish—a great pairing with crispy roast duck, slow-roast lamb, or a rich mushroom dish. Andrew Day’s Worcestershire/Herefordshire vines were planted in 2007. www.sixteenridges.co.uk
Camel Valley 2017 Pinot Noir Rose Brut
Former farmer and ex-RAF pilot Bob Lindo and his wife Annie have been making wine in Cornwall since 1989. Son, Sam, is now the winemaker making award-winning wines like this wonderful Camel Valley Rose Brut. Beautiful pale, salmon-peach color with a strawberry nose to die for!
Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2015
A Pinot Noir-dominant blend of 53%, with 40% Chardonnay and 7% Pinot Meunier. The aroma of red apple, zesty lemon, and light red fruit is underpinned by light biscuit and savory tones. An hour from London in Appledore, Kent, the original Gusbourne estate dates back to 1410. The Gusebourne family crest of three geese adorns every bottle.
Bride Valley Crémant Brut
In 2008m, Steve and Bella Spurrier went to Burgundy’s Pepinieres Guillaume vine nursery to selected their Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier rootstocks. They first harvested in 2011. Three years later, their first release sold out. The first English cremant is made from the cold harvests of 2015 and 2016. A lower fizz gives a rounded creamy texture with soft, apple crumble notes and a fresh, citrus finish. Creamy – as its names suggest. www.bridevalleyvineyard.com
Specialist on-line wine merchants www.theenglishwinecollection.co.uk curate mixed cases of fine English wine.