It is disappointing that during English Wine Week, the Society has not managed to get involved or draw members’ attention to the wealth of excellent wines now being made in England. Still four days to go - I live in hope, but not much. What a missed opportunity.
There are so many promotions and variety days, I don’t see the need for, or want, TWS to mail me every time.
I agree English Wine Week is a great time to shout loud about this country’s wine - I know we’ve done more in previous years. We did do a series of English WIne Week Instagram Live videos this week with Nyetimber, Ridgeview and Blackbook which we advertised on social media and the website (you can watch them here if you’re still interested! You don’t need to have Instagram to watch.)
I’d love to hear your favourite English wines?
The Blackbook one is excellent. I’ve got a few bottle of the 2018 Chardonnay, which I now can’t wait / also want to wait to open. Purchased off the back of very much enjoying the Simpsons 2018 chardonnay. Such a hot year was obviously great for English still wines.
Nyetimber went a bit wrong with the audio, I couldn’t watch it all
Ridgeview is planned for later viewing.
Thanks, Laura. Good to find these on Insta. Good to see something positive on our home producers, although I’d have been a bit more daring and not just gone for the big boys. I’m only just becoming acquainted with the English wineries so can’t say I know enough yet to be recommending, but would love to hear from others about their local vineyards that are producing good wines.
What would be good at some point in the future, would be to present different sparklers from across the different growing areas of the UK. We all know Nyetimber and most know Ridgeview. But there are others that have carved out a niche for themselves and would stand tall in that company.
Also, we have the ability to look at different terroirs. There are some great wines now being made from vineyards on chalk, as opposed to something else above chalk (or nowhere near chalk), and a couple of top champagne vignerons have said that blanc de blancs from English chalk are potential world leaders.
That’s a few ideas for starters. Sparkling wines are really our strong suit, though I wouldn’t want to rule out still wines as well.
Ooh yes, and at Oz Clarke picked Exton Park’s sparkling wine for one of his Desert Island Wines on our Instagram a couple of weeks back - we’ve been selling it recently but it might have sold out as I can’t find it online!
I have a couple of bottles of the Blackbook. Same quandary.
Have a bottle of the Simpson’s pinot meunier which will get drunk sooner.
Haven’t had for a while but Davenport’s Horsmonden white has been excellent in the past
We live in Brighton, so are lucky to have quite a number of vineyards on our doorstep. Ridgeview, is the most obvious one, but we’ve been enjoying wines from Albourne Estate (a gorgeous place to visit, too!), Wiston Estate (ditto), Bluebell Vineyard (erm… ditto) and Kingscote (which is tiny). It seems that every time we drive for a walk in the countryside - we’re about 10 minutes’ drive from the Sussex Downs national park - there’s a new vineyard we spot. Plumpton college, which is about 20 minutes’ drive, has its own vineyard and produces some decent wines, even the (stunning!) village of Poynings has one, and produces a lovely Bacchus.
Other worth mentioning are Black Dog Hill, Breaky Bottom and Bolney Estate, all wineries we enjoyed wines from. They all seem to go from strength to strength, so I hope this Covid disaster hasn’t harmed their business too much
Been enjoying Wiston vintage 2015 recently. It has quite high acidity which might not suit everyone, but a real extra depth and complexity compared to their NV. Different to (and I prefer it to) my previous favourite Nyetimber, at around the same RRP. Will be fascinating to see how it ages, and I wish TWS stocked it!
I am not on commission, honest, but If anyone’s interested, you can buy direct from the estate, and there’s free shipping on any size order for the next month or so as part of their lockdown response. My last order was turned round really quickly too.
Also going to echo the Blackbook love, and I live walking distance from the winery, so they’re also my local. They’re definitely the best examples of both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir I’ve had from England (although Ancre Hill in Wales comes close on the Chardonnay front, it we expand to British wines). The chardonnay is rare age worthy wine from the UK.
There “Mix” which is mostly Sevyal Blanc is also fun in a weird way, although I could give or take.
I may also put in a word for Renegade Urban Winery in Bethnal Green. I’m never quite sure if they count, as while the winery is in London, with a few exceptions (their fizz and bacchus), the grapes are grown abroad and brought in. Their argument is that if they were a brewery it’d be classed as a London beer, therefor it is London wine. Not sure I’m convinced, but still.
They make some excellent wines and aren’t as ridiculously overpriced as you’d assume the concept to be. My favourite was a barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc, grapes from the Loire made in a white Bordeaux style, unfortunately they’ve not done it since 2017. As a sucker for a gimmick, I keep being tempted by their “disgorge it yourself” sparkling Grenache, but have yet to do so. Those who know how weak-willed I am will be aware that it’s only a matter of time!
That’s my only query about these guys, don’t suppose you know how they retain the freshness of the grapes while shipping over here?
So far they’ve come over in refrigerated trucks as quickly as possible. When I spoke to them about it (a couple of years ago) they said they were all able to go from vine to winery in less than 24 hours. If they couldn’t do that they didn’t make the wine.
I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve had from them. While it’s very Bethnal Green, the bar is also very nice.
Greyfriars is close to me, just off the Hogs Back. I’ve tasted a few and like the sparklers. They made good wine in 2018. I think their cellar door shop has recently reopened so may pay them another visit soon.
Next vintage of mix-up is Chardonnay & Pinot Gris 50:50, is a more appealing blend to me.
Only in Battersea hmm, do they have a bar or retail there?
So so jealous. I have been drinking English sparkling wines for years but made it a pledge to buy sparkling wines solely from this country from 2016 (yes at the same time as brexit). Haven’t totally stuck to this but the majority are English.
Not much chance of vineyard visits up here in Southport, which is why I stated I was jealous. A 500 mile round trip to Kent, Sussex would make the wine too expensive
A fairly small vineyard - Dunleavy - makes a pretty decent rose. You can buy mail order
Last time I spoke to Sergio (at a supper club showcasing their wines during english wine week last year) they were thinking about it. At the moment it’s just the winery. They only do retail from there during their open days. I’ll post on here next time I see that they’re doing on!