Had a rather lovely bottle of
tonight, and recently enjoyed the Stopham Estate Pinot Blanc very much. On the fizz side, I also really like Bride Valley (owned by HWH Stephen Spurrier) and Gusbourne and Nyetimber are old favourites. Any other names I should be keeping an eye out for?
Had a rather lovely bottle of
The importance of bottle sizes, and why?
English White for a Tasting
Hi @Mooble, I rather like this intriguing blend. Seems to me to reflect it’s South Downs terroir. Although have yet to sample the 2016 vintage.
Can’t argue with Nyetimber, recently enjoyed a developed 2006. As my local vineyard I’d suggest Squerryes, the 2011 now drinking beautifully.
Much of their production goes to Chapel Down, but they plan to hold onto to an increasingly larger share of the crop for their own wines.
I love Ridgeview’s sparkling wine (though a bit biased, as they are local and I feel a strange urge to support them) - especially their Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia rosé. I also had good still wines from Chapel Down winery in Kent - my favourite being their Bacchus 2016 vintage.
Btw, a bit pedantic perhaps, but the bottle you got from Storrington Priory is from West, not East Sussex (as stated by Decanter).
I’ve noticed that the availability of English sparklers tends to be skewed towards the more local. I’m in Hampshire, but I’m not sure how far some of the more local ones travel. Conversely, I would like to know more of those from the further eastern end but find them harder to source unless I actually go there.
But of ones that are seriously worth your attention, Nyetimber and Hambledon (both carried by the Socity - hurrah!) must be on your list.
But plenty of good ones beyond that. I particularly like Gusborne. Ridgeview went through a spell of not keeping their wines on their lees for long enough, and I’ve lost track of them since then. They may well be back on track by now.
From this direction, Exton Park, Hattingley Valley, Cottonworth and Jenkyn Place are all well worth exploring if you come across them. They are quite distinct. The latter is made by Dermot Sugrue who makes the Sugrue Pierre mentioned by @Mooble. I love his wines but for reasons I can’t fathom, some people don’t get on with them. Their loss, not mine.
Finally, from the far west, Camel Valley rates a mention - ever-reliable, a bit of a crowd-pleaser but none the worse for that.
How could I not mention Nyetimber!?.. must be cause it’s really time for bed… But you are absolutely right, @Ghost-of-Mr-Tallis! Theirs is a classic English fizz, another Sussex favourite. I am yet to try Hambledon - everyone I know raves about it. Another one for the wishlist, then!
@Kent_wino, I absolutely second Davenport, his Horsmonden dry blend! I’m a big fan and buy direct from the vineyard !
I also like Breaky bottom, ridgeview and Nyetimber . I’ve tried court garden , hattingley and have a bottle of this put away as It’s gotten fantastic write ups !
Dermot Sugre is also head wine maker at Wiston.
I only wish we had access to more English fizz and still wine !
I’ve been meaning to try some of the Wiston offerings for a while. I really enjoyed the Trouble with Dreams, so I should probably make Wiston my next target… Which to go for though? Quite intrigued by their blanc de noirs, so that may be the winner if I can source some.
On a more general note, has anyone yet had an English red that was worth their time/pennies? I had one (a PN) last year that was actually not bad, but can’t quite remember who the producer was. Certainly either Litmus or Court Garden Ditchling…
Further north here in Shropshire/Hereford/Wales, there are some interesting vineyards and wines. I’m not a great fan of Fizz, so the gentle still whites if this area suit me. 3 Choirs always seem consistent …indeed listed by TWS. For a red Wroxeter Roman Vineyard produce a Rondo which is OK but not earth shattering. A lot of smaller vineyards use contract winemaking, so there can be some ‘sameness’ with the outcomes.
Perhaps I should draw attention to a vineyard within the M25, at Forty Hall, Enfield. This is a social Enterprise, and is just now getting its production going. Supported by Capel Manor College it planted in about 2011. I have not tasted their offerings yet…has anyone else.
Any vineyards your way @Leah?
There are 3 in Yorkshire but I don’t believe there are any this far north . I think @Nowt_in_my_glass has spent some time at one of them and took a tour while studying his WSET3 ? .
I once called one of them to request a list if their stockists as I was keen to try , however they refused and told me I could purchase directly from their site instead ! Needless to say I didn’t as postage was ludicrous.
This place is up the road from me…
I did manage to get a bottle from the local Waitrose before it sold out, Bacchus is the grape and they did a very good job with it, whether it was really worth all the accolades was to me doubtful but for this country it was a big step up for a still wine, the following vintage was not so good.
English wine is improving, the sparklers are already up there with champagne, but still wines have a long way to go and are mainly because of small production and the tax laws expensive for what they are.
I remember going to Giffords Hall near Cambridge years ago for an antiques fair held in the enormous barn there, the bar was open and they offered their own white wine, being patriotic I gave it a go and wished I hadn’t, terrible was being kind, but things have moved on.
As for reds I have drunk a couple, both were drinkable but that was about it and overpriced ! but good things could be on the horizon, as elsewhere the holy grail for red winemakers Pinot Noir appears to be gaining a footing in this country…
has anybody tried it ?
I tried the Bolney Estate PN 2015 (another vinery very local to us), but wasn’t much moved. It was enjoyable inasmuch as it had nice red fruit notes, not a bad nose and acidity was good too- but it lacked something- I can’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps just lacked character. It certainly wasn’t memorable. I also had an awful Rondo from Bolney, which frankly put me off the grape for good.
I know of 2 @Leah, one near Huddersfield which i have yet to visit which is apparently is set up for visitors with a tour, cafe and onsite shop. The other i know of is leventhorpe just outside leeds which is a vineyard in a farm building. They do a bit of tasting on a saturday if you email in advance. The whites are very light and acidic…a particularly acquired taste. The pinot noir was actually very acceptable, a good picnic wine. The standout wine was the gold-rose bubbly made in the traditional method by chapel down from lev’s rather suitable base wine. It really was good! Quite a risk buying it at the time at 20 a bottle following those whites but a gamble that paid off. There a few local distributors but yes the postage may be pricey.
However a WS community night out/tasting at Chez Nowt in Leeds also has a day excursion ready…
On a more general note of english wines, hambledon and nyetimber really show-off the best I’ve tried. I’ve tried some still whites at the rising stars tasting but was so underwhelmed…light, bland and way overpriced. But then i do have the palate of a tobacco-chewing redneck.
Is the one near Huddersfield the vineyard in Holmfirth? I know some people who’ve been and really enjoyed the tour but didn’t particularly rate the wines.
Lovely to hear about all the local vineries all over England!
I recently got a voucher present from a friend for a vinery visit/tastings in a place near Hastings. Never even knew the place existed - so really looking forward to tasting their wines. I got my eye on their sparkling rose and they also do a Pinot Blanc sparkling which looks promising. I find it really heart warming to hear of all these enterprises- some of which are really small and just finding their way. May it continue!
Aww, Winbirri! Weirdly enough I had mentioned their big award in an article on English wine I was writing last year, and the next day I went on holiday to Norfolk, and went to a food festival… and there they were! So I got a chance to try the winning bacchus and have to admit it was very enjoyable even if it didn’t blow me away. But would love to see them go from strength to strength off the back of the award!
It’s becoming a bit of a running joke among my friends how much I love Hambledon. I drink it often…
Also love the Three Choirs rose!
Yes in hilly holmsfirth…not tried the wines, you’d think they’d be available around leeds but I’ve never seen them.
I really liked still whites from Lyme Bay Winery that I mentioned in the thread below. That Chardonnay was very nice.
Of the reds, I’ve had the Gusbourne several times - it’s a serious wine, though quite pricey at over £20. Even so I think it does stand up against equivalent Bourgogne Rouges for quality at this price.
There are other small amounts of red PN made around the place that are worth trying. Some can be well worth it - others less so.
There is an early-ripening clone of PN (Pinot Noir Précoce/Fruhburgunder) which we might be hearing more of in future. I know it is grown in the UK but I think it all goes to make the red wine that goes into the sparkling rosés.
Rondo? Just say no.
Interesting discussion here and opening my eyes to possible English wines to try. I have to say that English wine in general has been a complete blind spot for me - the few I have tried have generally disappointed from either a quality or value for money perspective compared to the vast array of wines available in the UK from further afield.
So, wiping the slate clean and coming back with no preconceptions…
If I were to try 3 wines from the UK to challenge my perceptions of quality and value for money what would you recommend I started with? Can you share your top 3?
I’m happy to purchase (preferably TWS or major retailers) and feedback here in due course.