English Wine Week is here! Starting tomorrow from Saturday 27th May until Sunday 4th June, vineyards across the country will be celebrating with events, tours, tastings and new wine launches. What better week to drink and embrace English Wine? I’ve put together a selection of six of the freshest new English wine and vintage releases that are a perfect place to start.
I’ve also included links to events that any of the producers that I have featured in this article are hosting. You can also head over to English Wine Producers for a full list of English Wine Week events happening across the country.
Oxney Orangic Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
REGION: East Sussex RRP: £15
Following up on an award winning vintage is never an easy task, but then making Organic wines in England is a similarly daunting challenge. Oxney have achieved both feats with this expressive and vibrant Rosé made from only Pinot Noir grapes from their vineyard in East Sussex.
A slightly deeper pink hue suggests a riper Pinot harvest, which indeed manifests itself with aromas of vibrant red fruit. To taste, this wine is crisp, pure, honest! Clean raspberry and cherry flavours with hints of strawberry and slight creamy textures.
This wine is so new, that today (May 26th) is the official launch. Our advice: order it whilst you can as it won’t be around for long!
English Wine Week Activity: Rosé 2016 Tasting (Saturday 27th May) Rye, Sussex
Where to Buy: Oxney Estate
Harrow & Hope Sparkling Rosé 2014
REGION: Buckinghamshire RRP: £28
Another rosé that has had the tough job of following in the footsteps of its award-winning predecessor, but Henry Laithwaite and co. have once again delivered the goods here.
The latest vintage adds 30% Chardonnay to the blend and was 30% fermented in oak for complexity and texture.
The 2014 picks up where the previous vintage left off, with focussed red summer fruit flavours partnered with delicious creamy textures. Delightful!
English Wine Week Activity: Tastebuds & Fingertips (Sunday 11th June) Marlow
Where to Buy: Laithwaites
Chapel Down Flint Dry 2016
REGION: Kent RRP: £12
Not only is Chapel Down’s ubiquitous Flint Dry one of the most accessible English wines (it’s available in Waitrose stores nationwide for around £11), but its flavour profile is just such a crowd pleaser that gets better and better with each new vintage.
Fresh citrus aromas with lots of green fruit, hints of dried flowers and herbs and that oh-so-English hedgerow quality that typifies English white wine.
Of the recent vintages, this feels like the most balanced Flint Dry to date. Fresh, clean and dry with flavours of crisp apple, lime and a twist of tropical fruit and floral aromatics.
English Wine Week Activity: Dinner at The Royal Crescent Hotel (Thursday 1st June) Bath
Where to Buy: Chapel Down
Greyfriars Blanc de Blancs 2014
REGION: Surrey RRP: £21
I’ve been championing Greyfriar’s Sparkling Wines, particularly their Blanc de Blancs, ever since I stumbled across them practically on my doorstep.
The 2014 BdB has only just been released, but once again impresses with its striking freshness and vibrant, crisp orchard fruit flavours. It's all about crisp green apple with a twist of lemon!
The low dosage of 4g/l ensures a super fresh profile and will suit those looking for an uber-refreshing sparkling wine. At £21 a bottle from the cellar door, this wine remains one of the best value English Sparkling wines on the market.
English Wine Week Activity: Greyfriars Open Day (Saturday 27th May) Surrey
Where to Buy: Greyfriars Vineyard
Knightor Pinot Noir 2016
REGION: Cornwall RRP: £14.50
Proof that English Pinot Noir does not have to break the bank. I was down in Cornwall at Knightor a couple of weeks ago chatting to young winemaker David Brocklehurst and this wine was one of the highlights of my visit.
With a pure and vibrant garnet red colour in the glass, this has potent aromas of fresh raspberry with intense crushed black pepper notes.
On the palate there is a really pure clean red berry flavour profile of raspberry and red cherry, moving towards riper strawberry.
What caught me by surprise was how rounded this feels on the mid taste, it’s like a big warm summer berry hug!
English Wine Week Activity: Fish n' Fizz Friday (Friday 26th May) Cornwall
Where to Buy: Knightor
Hattingley Valley Entice 2016
REGION: Hampshire RRP: £20
Such has been the demand for winemaker Jacob Leadley’s Entice Dessert Wine that Hattingley Valley have been inundated with constant enquiries since the 2014 vintage sold out. Last year the stars aligned and allowed the Bacchus vines to produce a crop of fruit that meets the exacting standards to produce this unctuous delight.
A vibrant and perfumed nose of lime zest and gooseberry with sweet mango and rose petal.
To taste, the wine has a supple, silky texture that really coats the mouth. Ripe tropical fruit flavours with sweet peach and elderflower. What makes this so exciting is the citrus cut through and perfectly poised acidity that really keeps this wine alive.
Where to Buy: Hattingley Valley
Stephen tours seven Kentish winemakers in a day and looks at the region's approach to wine tourism.
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Matt talks through his indulgent festive 2020 selection from Grape Britannia including prestige sparkling, white, red and dessert wine and a rare aged brandy.
John tastes through ten delicious and diverse examples of English Bacchus, which demonstrate just why this is the white grape of choice in England right now.