Table of Contents
- Louis Pommery England Brut, Hampshire
- Plumpton Estate Brut Classic, East Sussex
- The Society’s Exhibition Sparkling Wine, East Sussex
- Bride Valley Blanc de Blancs 2017, Dorset
- Vagabond Winery Chardonnay 2018, London
- Gifford’s Hall Suffolk Madeleine Angevine
- Specially Selected Pinot Noir Early, Herefordshire
- Gusbourne Pinot Noir Twenty Twenty, Kent
- Simpsons Estate Rosé, Kent
- Folc English Rosé, Kent
Best of blighty (Picture: Getty Images)
We’re nailing the winemaking game here in the UK, with quality going stratospheric – thanks to the best winemaking we’ve ever had, grape-friendly terrain and climate, better quality grapes and developments like the recent Sussex PDO driving quality skyward.
It’s an exciting time to call yourself British.
Here are some of the bottles we’re backing.
Cheers to these this summer.
Louis Pommery England Brut, Hampshire
Louis Pommery England Brut, Hampshire (Picture: Supplied)
This is the love child of France and England, a wine from Hampshire produced by Champagne Pommery. This English bubbly is named after the husband of the French house’s matriarch, who herself was a pioneering boss-lady commanding a fizzy empire.
Anyway, you instantly know you’re in expert hands with this fizz. Well, it’s in their blood. That’s why 10th Cellar Master, Clément Pierlot, has whipped up a standout wine with beautifully delicate lemon posset bubbles.
Plumpton Estate Brut Classic, East Sussex
Plumpton Estate Brut Classic, East Sussex (Picture: Supplied)
You know when a trainee cuts your hair at the hairdresser? Well, this is a similar concept, minus the dread and inevitable disappointment. Made by students at the world-renowned, Sussex-based winemaking college, Plumpton.
Don’t worry, it’s overseen by their head winemaker, and the trainees go on to become leading lights in the industry.
Full marks go to their small-production, dry sparkler, jam packed with flavours of baked apple purée smothered over a biscuity base.
The Society’s Exhibition Sparkling Wine, East Sussex
The Society’s Exhibition Sparkling Wine, East Sussex (Picture: Richard Washbrooke)
When can’t you get a good deal from The Wine Society? That’s a rhetorical question – the answer is, one never can’t. You know what I mean.
Basically, profits go back into the prices, which is why you’ll find wines like this, made by first-rate producers at micro prices. Made for them by Ridgeview off of East Sussex, from the three Champagne grapes.
It’s expressively orchard apple with a super-fresh beading of pear sherbet bubbles.
Bride Valley Blanc de Blancs 2017, Dorset
Bride Valley Blanc de Blancs 2017, Dorset (Picture: Supplied)
Once Alan Rickman has played you in a movie, your work here is done. It happened to founder of Bride Valley, Steven Spurrier, a legend in the wine industry.
Steven set up the 1976 Judgement Of Paris tasting where a Californian Chardonnay thrashed competing French wines, as seen in the movie Bottle Shock.
Thankfully, he saw the potential for English wine, planting grapes on his wife’s farm in Litton Cheney, producing this dry, aromatic sparkler.
Vagabond Winery Chardonnay 2018, London
Vagabond Winery Chardonnay 2018, London (Picture: Supplied)
When I say this is a compact winery, I mean it. Urban wineries always are, but this takes it to another level. Vagabond run fantastic wine bars around London, also making their own wines.
This takes inspiration from the crystalline style of Chablis, made from grapes grown near Guildford, of all places.
From a dog driving a vehicle on the label to nine months ageing on yeast lees, this is a wine worth checking out.
Gifford’s Hall Suffolk Madeleine Angevine
Gifford’s Hall Suffolk Madeleine Angevine (Picture: Supplied)
There are 66 grape varieties planted in the UK, who knew? Madeleine Angevine is one of them, though I’m guessing few people have heard of it, myself included until recently.
Originally from the Loire, this clone has come from Switzerland, so it’s been through a lot to get here.
Family-run producer Gifford’s Hall have produced a dry and delicate white that’s all orchard apple and elderflower flavours.
Specially Selected Pinot Noir Early, Herefordshire
Specially Selected Pinot Noir Early, Herefordshire (Picture: Supplied)
A decent English red wine for around a tenner used to be as likely as picking a hen’s tooth out of your Sunday roast unicorn. Ironically, this wine would go very well with that dish.
Here’s a fun fact for the dinner table: Pinot Noir Early, also called Précoce, isn’t actually Pinot Noir per se, it’s a mutation.
It all sounds very X-Men, though they’re very close in flavour, with soft, juicy, summer pudding notes.
Gusbourne Pinot Noir Twenty Twenty, Kent
Gusbourne Pinot Noir Twenty Twenty, Kent (Picture: Supplied)
Finding stock of this bottle is like getting through to the Glastonbury hotline and securing tickets. Nearly impossible, but an almost spiritual moment if you succeed.
Based in Appledore in Kent, which sounds like a location in Lord Of The Rings, Gusbourne are famed for their world-class sparkling wines.
This red is up there with some Burgundy Pinot Noirs – think cherries and plum flavours with a twist of black pepper.
Simpsons Estate Rosé, Kent
Simpsons Estate Rosé, Kent (Picture: Supplied)
Wine power-couple alert: I’m talking about Ruth and Charles Simpson who make this scrumptious rosé.
Flitting between their Domaine Sainte Rose in the Languedoc region of southern France and their estate in Kent, they nail the flying winemaker vibe.
No surprise then that they bring a French influence and know-how to their English wines, like this balanced diet of a rosé, with flavours from white strawberry to flat peach and pink grapefruit.
Folc English Rosé, Kent
Folc English Rosé, Kent (Picture: Supplied)
I mentioned this rosé in a recent column about brilliant female winemakers. You see, it’s become a wine icon, or a winecon, even in its short existence. It has also managed to scoop up nearly every award available – just take a look on the website if you don’t believe me.
The pale coral colour would normally make me think of Provence, while the lightly spicy, zesty wine inside leads me to the kitchen to crack it open immediately.
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