One of the hottest wine trends, over the past few years, has literally been growing right under our noses. It is in fact, English Wine. Saturday May 27th sees the return of English Wine Week and a brilliant chance to celebrate everything that’s unique and wonderful about this home grown, liquid treasure.
Over the week there are lots of fantastic tastings, winemaker dinners and activities aimed at celebrating English wines. The perfect opportunity to get to know English wines better!
Of course, wine has a long and rich history in the lands of the British Isles. Wine containers, dating from before the Roman conquest, have been discovered on sites in England, which could indicate that wine drinking was an important part of life back then. The Romans certainly loved there wine and would have introduced the vine to Britain, as they did to most places they invaded.
Today things are a little more civilised and modern techniques in the vineyard and the winery mean that high quality wine is very achievable across the southern counties of the UK.
So where do you start and what worth checking out?
2 in every 3 bottles of English Wine now come with bubbles. The cooler climate is perfect for producing the type of crisp, fresh grapes needed for Sparkling Wine production. It’s no surprise that the 3 main grapes used to make Champagne (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) represent more than 50% of all vineyard plantings. Chardonnay provides finesse, Pinot Noir the flesh and Pinot Meunier adds freshness.
Named after the god of wine, this white variety is the most planted grape after the Champagne varieties. It was created to ripen effectively in cool climates and is also well known in its home of Germany. For those who like to drink Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll find much to like here. It’s powerful, vibrant flavours are similar to the aromatic, white wines from Sancerre or New Zealand.
This French Hybrid grape is another popular grape for producing white wines in England. Considered a good all-rounder, it ripens early with high acidity and has fairly subtle flavours.
First introduced in the 1980s, this red grape has adapted very well to UK conditions. It produces good-quality wines with deep colour and style. It works well on its own or blends well with other varieties (such as Dornfelder and Pinot Noir).
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