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Favourite English wines


As a bit of an off topic… do you think travel shock, if you believe it is a thing in wine (I do), applies to fizz?


I really hope not, as that Hambledon is going for a long drive in the morning!


I believe it happens, so I don’t touch the champagne I bring back from France for a at least a few months.


…I’m sure I remember seeing a thread on this ages ago, but “how much is enough?”


I’ve been to Leventhorpe and featured their still and sparkling at a tasting I recently ran.
They are interesting because of their individuality - they’re not mainstream and have character. Some liked, others didn’t, but that’s what was appealing.
George (the owner) has a fund of stories. Spare three hours needed


Wrap it in bubble wrap for the journey :sweat_smile:. I believe it all settles down. I literally bring about 100 or more bottles back from France every year, wouldn’t worry too much .


Interesting experiment here which suggests that travel shock is a myth.


…unless its air transport. It’s not just wine. I used to live in the Czech Republic - the old dudes who sat at the bar every evening would only ever drink the beer from the nearest brewery swearing blind that transportation ruined the beer.


I’d certainly expect that a wine with sediment in it would benefit from a little rest after a long journey for things to settle.

I love a good scentific experiment to try and prove or disprove a hypothesis though. Interesting read @Richard.


A day of gale force winds across Sussex is perhaps not the ideal time to visit a vineyard; but there was no way I wasn’t going – as this was Wiston Estate, and I’ve been really looking forward to it since booking.

Glad I persevered (and this included going round and round the A24, missing the tiny sign to the vineyard several times- not my idea of fun!).
It was worth it – not only for the enthusiastic, not to say, passionate presentation from Kirsty (who is married to one of the Goring sons), or for spending 20 minutes with Dermot Sugrue – albeit on the screen, rather than in person - but obviously because their wines are just, well, awesome!

We tasted six; each lovely in its own way – but the highlights for me were:

The 2009 Estate Cuvee: complex, hitting you in waves of aromas and flavours of ripe fruit, a wonderful mouthfeel, and a honeyed/nougaty finish. Wow!

The 2011 Blanc de Blancs: this has just won the best in show in the 2019 Decanter awards. I can see why- this is a wine to showcase why the best English sparkling wines are beating Champagne in its own game. I am going to fly into superlatives, so best just say – if you get a chance to taste it, do it. It’s a beauty. And the grilled pineapple note on the finish is unbelievable.

Wiston Estate Rose 2014 – another beauty. Fresh, with pure berry fruit, but also weighty and with a wonderful texture and great length

Finally, The 2010 Blanc de Noirs was amazing – again, a marriage of fruit purity and precision and yet with weight to it (flavour and texture-wise) – but outside my budget, so I did not cultivate the fantasy.

The Brut NV/Rose NV are great sparkling wines too - and tasted much drier than others English NV I have had. In short, this Dermot - he knows what he’s doing.

If you’re around this neck of the woods, and don’t mind going round the A24 for fun, then I highly recommend a visit. The story behind how they came to be is rather romantic too. :clinking_glasses:


I’ve been looking forward to that one, @Inbar - excellent write-up. Much appreciated!


Thanks for the report, and pix.

I’ve not encountered Wiston Estate: there seem to be more and more English sparkling wines on the market. I guess Wiston has been going some time if they are able to release NV wines.

So, which ones did you take back with you?


They planted the first vines in 2006. It’s got an interesting backstory; the estate has been a farm since the 1740’s in the same family - The Gorings. They got 6000 acres of mostly barley, wheat and sheep. The current lady of the house, Pip, is originally from SA, and when she married the owner - she begged him to plant some vines. He didn’t see any sense in it, and it took 34 years for him to agree. They clearly entered it at the right time for ESW.

They asked Dermot (who was head winemaker at Nyetimber at the time) if he would make wine for them. He wasn’t quite sure, but came to see the estate, fell in love with it- and with Pip’s vision of what she wanted for it, left Nyetimer (probably not specifically for them), and became their winemaker. He convinced them to build a small winery too, on what used to be a turkey farm. They are now investing in a much bigger one.

It is still a very small operation - only 16 acres of vines (the three Champagne grapes only), but a little expansion is on the horizon. You definitely get a sense that this is a family passion (mainly generated by the matriarch), and very much a family affair, though highly professional. The wines are truly fantastic.

Budget was limited - as we’re about to go on holiday and spend more money on wine in Galicia, but I got a bottle each of the Brut NV, the 2011 and the 2009 (which was probably my favourite). The NV I’m going to give to my friends in Spain, who are not huge fizz drinkers, but always raise a brow when I tell them how wonderful ESW can be. I think this one will raise a brow - but for good reasons. I hope they like it as much as I did. :crossed_fingers:


As a matter of interest, @Inbar, did they mention any work they do on a contract basis? I suppose such things may be a bit confidential, but I know of one other producer for whom they make the wine.


She did sort of blurt it out when I mentioned Black Dog Hill, which is another tiny vineyard in Ditchling Sugrue makes wine for. Is it Jenkyn you have in mind? That was the name she mentioned :wink:


Yes that’s the one - Jenkyn Place. I think that have around the same acreage under vines as Wiston do.


The best ESW I’ve tasted was Sugrue’s The Trouble with Dreams.


Which is, aptly, the very first post on this thread. :grinning:


I shall have to put this to the test, so have just ordered some…