Call It English Wine, not British!


Goldberry Hill
English Sparkling Wine is coming of age. It may not have huge distribution outside these shores, production maybe small, and prices a touch on the high side but quality wise many are excellent. They can certainly hold their own against Champagne soil and growing conditions are very similar.

I am not totally enamoured with the red wines though. Many of the countries 300 odd wineries try their hand at producing reds but it is with the white, and of course the sparklers, that the best quality lays.

Most English wine is grown within spitting distance of the Channel. The counties of Kent and Sussex plus Hampshire and Devon hold the majority of vineyards. Although places such as Cornwall and South Oxfordshire have successful ventures too. Unless you visit the vineyards direct, purchasing the wine can be tricky; although many supermarkets, especially Waitrose, are now stocking locally sourced produce and may have listings of wines from local vineyards. ASDA stores and Booths are also worth checking out. One website worth a view is English wine producers.com who have listings of vineyards open to the public.

The October issue of Delicious Magazine has an article on English wines and has a few food matching suggestions worth experimenting with.

The crisp aromatic whites wont stand up to roast poultry, for example but they do go very well with leafy salads, goats cheese, white fish and seafood. Trout would be a star match, or a dressed garden salad with tomatoes. The tangier, softer reds can also be enjoyed on their own or paired with cold meats such as ham or rare beef, mild cheeses or simple pizzas and pasta sauces. Richer reds go well with roast game birds or duck served with fruity sauces.

Three English Wine tasting notes:

Remember to buy English wine, not British. Wine made from grapes grown in English vineyards can be labelled English; but wine made from imported grape concentrate goes under the British Wine moniker. The latter is best avoided!

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