England is becoming a serious power player in the world of wine. As news comes that Bordeaux is suffering from climate change and famous Champagne house Tattinger is opening its first vineyard outside of the Champagne area in our very own Kent, this year’s English Wine Week (28th May – 5th June) comes at a peak time for English wine.
Lisa Cope, from Bloomsbury wine bar Noble Rot, tells us: “Noble Rot Magazine held a landmark tasting a few months ago pitting Champagnes against English sparkling wines. Everything was tasted blind by a top panel of wine writers, sommeliers and chefs, and English sparkling wine took the top two spots. The winner came from Hambledon vineyard in Hampshire, beating names like Taittinger and Veuve Cliquot. It caused a ripple in the industry, and proved to any doubters that English wine is not to be dismissed.”
So what are the advantages of drinking English wine? As well as the financial upside (buying local means a better price for a higher quality), not to mention reducing the carbon footprint of your tipple, the English climate means that classic grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grow well, resulting in fresh wines that are ideal for summer.
Click through the gallery below for 10 of our favourite English wines to match the grapes we know and love – and all available to order online.
The Bolney Estate Dark Harvest
If you like... Cabernet Sauvignon
Try this: This fruity red is aged in-barrel for one year, giving it a mature edge alongside the red fruit flavours that make it an ideal accompaniment to red meat on a barbecue.
Tesco Finest English White Wine
If you like... Chenin Blanc
Try this: This blended wine is a crisp dry white with hints of apple and pear flavours, making it a great accompaniment for summery fish dishes.
Plumpton Sparkling Rosé 2014
If you like... rosé Champagne
Try this: Wine buyer at M&S, Elizabeth Kelly, tells us: "The Plumpton Sparkling Rosé from East Sussex is beautifully pink in colour, with juicy red berry fruit aromas and a refreshing finish. It shares the elegance and pretty red fruit character of classic rosé Champagne. It should be enjoyed well chilled with strawberries in the sun."
Sedlescombe 2013 Orion
Hambledon Classic Cuvée English Sparkling Wine
If you like... high-end Champagnes
Try this: This is the English Sparkling Wine that the experts visiting Noble Rot declared better than some of the best Champagnes that Frances produces. It is made in the same style as classic Champagne: ideal for a celebration.
Denbies Pinot Gris 2014
Nutbourne Estate Pinot Noir
If you like... Burgundy Pinot Noir
Try this: This Pinot Noir is made in a similar style to the famous Pinot Noirs of Burgundy, which often retail at a far higher price. A light, fruity red aged in oak barrels, it will be delicious with grilled meats on a barbecue or a roast dinner, but also will age well if you wanted to add to your collection.
Stopham Estate Pinot Blanc 2014
If you like... Pinot Grigio
Try this: Elizabeth Kelly says: "Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc are closely related and share similar aromatics, but Pinot Blanc has a lovely floral intensity. It is an ideal match for goats cheese salad or grilled fish."
Silver Bay Point Rosé
Taste the Difference English Sparkling Brut
If you like... non-vintage Champagne or cava
Try this: Sainsbury's English Sparkling Wine is made in the same method as Champagne and cava, but without the air miles. If you want to try English sparkling knowing exactly what you're getting, these are the bubbles to buy.