About English Wine
Not that long ago, people used to scoff at the idea of an English Wine Industry but nowadays the vineyards that line the southern counties are going from strength-to-strength and more importantly producing outstanding, globally recognised wines. Yet still to this day, English wine sales only account for roughly 1% of all domestic wine purchases, and with such a great selection of stunning wine to choose from, we think these numbers should and could be much higher.
Let’s start by looking at the history of English wine growers and how we went from practically nothing to a thriving and celebrated wine industry.
Brief History of English Wine
1967 sparked what we would call the beginning of the modern English wine industry with the launch of the English Vineyards Association. Just two short years after its introduction there were some 83 members, and by 1974 there were already 107. By the mid-1990s there were over 400 vineyards registered in the UK – it was this radical and unprecedented rise that lay the foundations for such excellent wines today.
England’s cool climate closely resembles the slopes of the Champagne region in northern France and is therefore especially well-suited for producing sparkling wine with similar levels of quality. The soil that inhabits the southern coast of England has found to be almost identical in PH levels and chalk deposits to the Champagne region that it became inevitable that world-class sparkling wine would grow there.
One of the strange and few benefits of global climate change that is affecting the world is the continuous improvement of the taste in English wines. According to expert vintners across the country the taste will only improve as the climate does.
Let’s take a closer look at two of the UK’s most celebrated wine brands.
On an ancient patch of ground in West Sussex lies the pristine Nyetimber estate and since 2006 they’ve been winning industry awards for sparkling wine, at times beating some of the best-known champagne houses in the world.
The first vines were planted in 1988 using Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and since then the perfect growing conditions have allowed for the slow maturing of the grapes that give a superb taste.
Coveted by high-end restaurateurs, the official supplier to 10 Downing Street and supposedly drank by the Queen herself, Chapel Down have continuously produced stunning white and sparkling wines for past 20 twenty year and in 2018 they were confirmed as the largest wine grower in the UK.
Chapel Down’s White Bacchus is the closest you’ll get to a world class Sauvignon Blanc this side of the English Channel. Producer of both sparkling and non-sparkling wines, the Chapel Down estate sits in the heart of Kent on the chalky hills just a few kilometres away from the coast. Specialising in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Bacchus, it’s the chalk cliffs that Chapel Down themselves say contribute to the unbeatable taste of their produce.
Taste of English Wine
It’s been widely said that the taste on English wine is closely related to Sauvignon Blancs of France, New Zealand and other well-known producers. With a crisp and very dry flavor to start and notes of apple and peach, generally English wine that most commonly uses the hybrid grape Seyval Blanc perfectly replicates the taste and aroma of the infamous Bordeaux grape.
The all important cost, we know that’s what you’re here for; and it’s true, the price of English wines simply cannot compete with the £4 and £5 bottles you can easily pick up in store from Chile or Australia, but that certainly doesn’t mean the extra money isn’t worth it.
The cost of English wine can vary drastically, much like wine from other countries. You can pay anything up to £100s for some of the vintage sparkling wine produced here, but an excellent bottle of Chapel Down Bacchus can be found from £11 with the right deal.
One great benefit of English wine that is becoming much more of an important issue is the carbon footprint benefit. With the wine only having to travel nationally rather than internationally, customers can greatly reduce their carbon footprint by purchasing English wine from local vineyards rather than from countries as far away as Australia and USA we can all help the environment as well as support this increasingly important British industry.
Wines Direct has an excellent array of English wines to choose from, head to our English Wines pages for all the latest deals from our merchant partners!
You could find your next favourite wine is closer to home than you think!
18th May 2020