English wine has come a long way from the tart flabby wines of old to the 120 awards won at the International Wine Challenge 2016, and now even Tattinger, the French Champagne house, has bought some land in Kent to invest in English Sparkling wine. But its not just the sparklers that are outstanding, here are some English white, red and rose still wines I think are worth a try.
Ranked by price low-high, supermarket retailers shown where available.
Stanlake Park Hinton Grove, Berkshire (£10.49 Stanlake Park)
Although this is an off-dry aromatic wine, it is beautifully balanced so you don't notice the slight sweetness, making it an easy drinking tipple. Soft and interesting, like spotting an unusual butterfly. Made from Madeleine Angevine, Reichensteiner, Schonburger, Wurzer and Ehrenfelser grapes, this is a complex, well structured wine that will go well with Asian dishes like Thai Green Curry. Also Available from Rebellion Brewery in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.
Oaken Grove Benham Blush, Oxfordshire (£11.49 Waitrose or £50 for six if you buy direct)
A dry rose made from 100% Pinot Noir. Enticing strawberries and cream on the nose with hints of apple, peach and cherry cobbler flavour characteristics. Great served with pork chop and green beans. Reminiscent of sitting in an English country garden.
Chiltern Valley Dry, Oxfordshire (£11.95 Old Luxters)
Made with the Reichensteiner grape, this light and crisp white is refreshing and delicious, particularly if partnered with BBQ'd fish with a wedge of lime. Bright and breezy like standing outside on a ferry.
Sharpham Whole Berry Rose, Devon (£14.99 Waitrose)
A pale pink rose with strawberries and cherry blossom aromas. Made from 100% Dornfelder grapes and pressed as whole bunches, resulting in an off-dry wine with summer berries and soft tannins on the palate. Bright, fun and friendly, like a picnic in the park.
LDN Cru Bacchus (£15 London Cru)
Made from 100% Bacchus grapes grown in Kent with the wine made in London. Flavours of elderflower, cut grass and lemon rind, with a lovely mouthfeel from the lees-stirring (batonnage). Complex fleeting floral aromas, like walking through a meadow.
Bolney Estate Pinot Noir, West Sussex (£15.99 Waitrose)
A lightly oaked pinot noir, with medium body, packed with cherries, and a slight coconut aftertaste from the toasty oak. Fragrant and fruity, like walking around a farm shop. Great served with baked Camembert or glazed ham.
Litmus White Pinot, Surrey (£22 M&S)
An intriguing white wine made from red Pinot Noir grapes which results in a dry wine that mixes red and white characteristics, showing both red berry and spice with honey and floral notes. A lovely full body with light oak. A great match for prawn tempura or turkey steaks in a creamy sauce.
Trevibban Mill Black Ewe Red, Cornwall (£33 Trevibban Mill)
A violet colour accompanies forest fruits and star anise on the palate, with a lingering taste of raspberry leaf tea. Comforting and mildly exciting, like picking raspberries in your granny's garden. A complex full-bodied wine with soft tannins made form 100% Pinot Noir.
I ask you to try one (or more!) of the above and let me know what you think.
I will be serving a flight of three English wines at my next pop-up event in Marlow on 2nd and 3rd of June, come and say hello! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a table.