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This week is English Wine Week so we’ve tasked our resident wine expert, ‘The Wine Tipster’ Neil Phillips, with teaching us a thing or two about home grown grapes. He’s also got seven of his favourite English tipples for us to try at home – before we’re finally allowed to venture to the pub and restaurants from next weekend.

                             

Think wine and you could be forgiven for thinking we must head straight to the sections marked FRANCE, SPAIN or NEW ZEALAND in the aisles of our supermarkets and favourite wine shops. Not so!

 

Britain has been an ever-improving force to be reckoned with on the wine scene and its best bottles aren’t just limited to a handful of leading producers either.

 

Did you know that:

 

  • There are 164 commercial wineries, and 763 vineyards across England and Wales (you can explore the different vineyards HERE..
  • There are normally 150 vineyards open to visitors.
  • By 2040, bottle sales of English wine are predicted to reach 40 million.
  • More than two thirds (69%) of all bottles sold in England and Wales are sparkling.

 

As a celebration from wines of Great Britain, English Wine Week provides an opportunity to buy wine from local suppliers, learn more about the journey from grape to bottle and engage with the inspiring home-grown wines available on our doorsteps.

 

Many vineyards and retailers across the country have been taking part via virtual tasting sessions and events, all to mark the start of what should be a glorious summer for wine.

 

The warm weather has seen early flowering in vineyards and if this dry spell continues, we can look forward to a bumper harvest in 2020.

 

Here I take a look at some exceptional bottles of locally produced wine ranging from drinks to be enjoyed on special occasions to some delicious options for under £10.

SEVEN ENGLISH WINES TO FOLLOW

 

1) Coates & Seely Brut Reserve NV, Hampshire £31.95 

The Investec Derby is on Saturday July 4th and to celebrate Epsom Downs have created the Great British Garden Party at Home, including A Great British Picnic. The bubbly recommended is Coates & Seely Brut Reserve and Sparkling Rosé and it’s easy to see why.

 

Brut Reserve is a very stylish blend of mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with 10% Pinot Meunier. There is real depth of flavour, complexity and fine balance from this fine English fizz from the Hampshire hills.

 

Look out for their rosé Coates & Seely Sparkling Rosé NV £32.95, which is one of the best in the UK.


2) Nyetimber Rosé MV, Sussex, Majestic - £39.99 buying mix 6 bottles and Waitrose.

An outstanding glass of pink for English Wine Week, which is all style and beautifully made with lovely ripe summer fruits. Their perfectly blended Nyetimber Classic Cuvée MV, (Waitrose £36.99, Majestic) is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and is a classic.

 

3) Lyme Block Bacchus 2019, Devon, Aldi - £9.99

For under a tenner, this is cracking value. I have actually featured this wine before in this column – but make absolutely no apology for doing so again!
Bacchus is the go-to English grape variety and if you like a dry, refreshing zingy white then this is a winner!


4) Three Choirs Vineyards Coleridge Hill 2019, Gloucestershire, Waitrose - £9.99

Another top wine for under £10, this is from the first English vineyard I visited back in 1995 on a wet Sunday afternoon. Three Choirs have built a tremendous business over the years and have one of the best visitor experiences of any winery in the UK. For those of you who prefer a slightly off-dry style then this white with ripe fruit flavours and balanced acidity is the perfect easy drinking wine on a hot summer’s day.


5) Balfour Chardonnay Ortega Hush Heath Estate 2019, Kent, M&S - £12.99

I tried this wine last month for the first time and was blown away by the quality for the money. It’s truly impressive.

 

The buttery character of the Chardonnay is so well integrated with the ripe fruit flavours of the Ortega grape variety that you can easily enjoy on its own or with risotto and vegetables.


6) Chapel Down English Rosé 2019, Kent – Morrisons, Sainsbury’s - £11 on offer. Available also in Majestic & Waitrose.

One of the most innovative English wine producers, who aside from making fabulous wines, produce excellent beers and gin too.

 

This English rosé tastes like summer with soft strawberry and raspberry fruit flavours and a refreshing finish and crisp acidity.


7) Bolney Wine Estate Dark Harvest 2018, Sussex Waitrose - £11.99

Bolney Estate make excellent sparkling and still wines, with whites made from the Pinot Gris variety as well as reds, including a delicate, fruity Pinot Noir in Waitrose.

 

This Dark Harvest red is also in Waitrose and is a lovely medium bodied wine with plum and cherry fruit flavours, making it a great match with grilled lamb and Mediterranean grilled vegetables, such as peppers and courgettes.


To find out more about English Wine Week (which ends on Sunday 28th June) head HERE.

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