Great Britain is making seriously good… no seriously bloody great wines!
Wine GB is the premier wine event for the UK wine industry held at the Royal Horticultural Society Lindley Hall in London. All of the Vineyards at the event are listed at the end of this blog with their websites and twitter handles too. Please check some of them out.
For sure Great Britain is known for its stunning (worldwide) award winning sparkling wines, however what really was the shocker for me is how fantastic English still wines have become also!.
Just a few FACTS about GB wine industry to get you started:
(ALL FACTS FROM WINE GB WEBSITE)
Commercial Vineyards: 502
Hectares Under Vine: 2554 (6308 Acres) Hectarage planted has tripled since 2000
Vines Planted in 2017: 1 Million
Predicted Planting for 2018: 1.5 to 1.7 Million Vines
Annual Wine Production: 5.9million bottles (2017) Predicted 2040 – 40 Million
Vineyards open to the public: 150+
Bottles of wine sold in 2017: +31% from 2015
Types of wine sold: Still wine 32% (1.9m btl) Sparkling 68% 4m Bottles
Export: 27 Countries (4% of wine produced)
Top Grape Varieties: No1. Pinot Noir 31.5%, No.2 Chardonnay 30.2% No.3 Pinot Meunier 9.5%. These 3 sparkling varieties account for 71.2% of all grapes grown in GB currently.
So I spent the morning tasting Sparkling wines. From table to table, one vineyard to the next the quality was outstanding. Below were my sparkling wines of the morning, however ALL the sparkling I tasted on the day were of such a high quality.
Wiston Estate: Cuvée 2009, Blanc de Blancs RRP £ 32.95 &
Wiston 2010 & Blanc de Noirs 2010 RRP £47.00
Hambledon: Vineyards: Première Cuvée NV RRP £42.50
Gusbourne: Blanc de Blancs 2013 RRP £35.00
Nyetimber: Blanc de Blancs 2010 £43.99
Cottonworth: Classic Cuvée NV RRP £28.00
Now I have written a few pieces lately on Sparkling wines (check the archive) so I am not reviewing any of these sparkling wines today. What I have mentioned earlier are the wonderful still wines GB is now producing.
I bumped into my great wine buddy Mike again! (www.pleasebringmemywine.com @pbmmw – twitter) who told me that I needed to taste a wine. I was stood next to the Welsh Vineyards Association stand. I did not have very high hopes. How wrong was I!
OK once again I was proved to be a complete muppet! I ended up being there 20 mins and having a great and interesting tasting!
So I was introduced to Woody from Montgomery Vineyard who poured me a glass of white wine
It was 100% Solaris grape variety 2016.
Solaris meaning “Sun” is an early ripening variety originally from Germany and perfect for the cooler climate of Wales. Its fruity & Zesty with a fresh slightly off dry feel, then with tropical, slightly nutty finish. Great Summer sipping! Approx RRP. £20
Then came the second wine. RONDO 2016: This is a medium bodied red with a big redberry fruit burst. Rondo is again a cool climate grape variety. Approx RRP £20
I’m looking forward to visiting soon to further follow up on these wines. (please note this vineyard is not open to the public ….. YET)
Then I met Robb Merchant, who is currently Chairman of the Welsh Vineyard Association & also owner of White Castle Vineyards in Abergavenny. Only about 40 mins from my house actually…. but that’s another story in a couple of blogs time (next week I promise!) 5 Acres 4800 vines, truly a great story. Pinot Noir Précoce 2016 Approx RRP £20
This intrigued me to start to look for all the other still wines at the tasting.
Denbies Wine Estate was my next stop. This estate is based in Surrey in the south East of England and the vines were planted in 1986. Denbies is currently the largest producer in the UK with circa. 500,000 bottles per year. Now they make a lot of sparkling wines but I was interested mainly in their range of still wines.
What drew me too the table was I saw in the catalogue that they had Pinot Gris & I love Pinot Gris.
The Pinot Gris poured was very pale in colour, so a good start. On the nose there was brioche and ripe fruits. It has lots of body and has a full on mouth feel, but with zesty acidity on the finish its beautifully balanced. Approx Retail £17 Bargain!
PINOT NOIR 2016. Well I’m quite fussy about the old PN as it goes but I was pleasantly surprised by this full on single varietal PN. Fairly light cherry red in the glass. On the nose and the palate it was a plummy/raspberry delight. I could have easily pulled up a chair, sipped all afternoon and would have done if there was also a nice plate of charcuterie.
Just before I left Denbies table I was asked would I like to try the dessert wines. Well to be honest that was a new one for me. I actually didn’t know GB wine industry made any. I was put right then and have been since too. I’ve always been a fan of dessert wines and have at least 20 different types at home. So of course I jumped at the chance.
Denbies produce 2 dessert wines. Noble Harvest 2016 & The Brokes Botrytis Ortega 2016
Both Wines are made from 100% Ortega Grapes. While the Noble harvest was delicious, golden in the glass & heavenly on the palate 12%ABV (RRP £24.95 Half bottle) The Brokes Botrytis 2016 was just stunning wine and winemaking. 10%ABV deep rich golden nectar in colour, absolutely heavenly on the nose, and the palate is divine, caramelised orange, a touch of vanilla from the oak barrels and OH OH OH so rich. Yet on the finish it is not cloyingly sweet and is a pretty clean finish. Only a 500 bottle production unfortunately but if you can get it its worth the cost. RRP £60.00
Before I bore you all to death I have one more wine to share with you.
Simpsons Wine Estate “The Roman Road Chardonnay 2017”
Ashleigh from Simpsons was telling me that it wasn’t quite ready as it had only been bottled for less than 2 weeks, however they were really wanting to show the trade their new Chardonnay. This was their 2nd vintage of the wine only. On my initial tasting I was very impressed considering the length of time in the bottle and had barely had time to settle. I then tasted the wine another month later at the London Wine Fair and it was developing amazingly.
This is an elegant Chardonnay, it has only spent for 3 months in French Oak.
Its fresh on the nose, with a lime zestiness and white peaches (just like the wonderful ripe white peaches I have in Italy for a true Bellini)
On the palate its mineral, citrus and super clean with the slightest touch of vanilla & spice on the finish. This wine is very good. RRP £22.99
The Roman Road Vineyard, is situated alongside the route the Romans first marched when invading England in AD 43, bringing with them the first vines. FACT!
The reason I haven’t written about this tasting until now is very simple. I wanted to go and explore what I had locally, central UK, within an hour of my house for more still wine gems. These blogs will be ongoing over the next two weeks and are on small boutique vineyards.
White Castle Vineyard, Astley Vineyard, & Poulton Hill Vineyard.
Please see below links to all the vineyards at WINE GB and also the relevant associations of county’s too. Also a great resource is the WINEGB website. Please take the time and explore these wonderful vineyards.
Wines of Great Britain
http://www.winegb.co.uk/visitors/ Twitter: @wine_GB
A’BECKETT’S VINEYARD http://www.abecketts.co.uk Twitter: @abecketts
ALBOURNE ESTATE http://www.albourneestate.co.uk Twitter: @Albourneestate
ALDWICK COURT FARM http://www.aldwickcourtfarm.co.uk Twitter: @aldwickcourtfrm
AMBRIEL http://www.ambrielsparkling.com Twitter: @Ambriel_uk
BIDDENDEN VINEYARDS http://www.biddendenvineyards.com Twitter: @biddendenvine
BLACK CHALK http://www.blackchalkwine.co.uk Twitter: @blackchalkwine
BLUEBELL VINEYARD ESTATES http://www.bluebellvineyard.co.uk Twitter: @BluebellWines
BOLNEY WINE ESTATE http://www.bolneywineestate.com Twitter: @bolneyestate
BRIGHTWELL VINEYARD http://www.brightwellvineyard.co.uk
CAMEL VALLEY VINEYARD http://www.camelvalley.com Twitter: @camelvalleybob & @camelwinemaker
CHAPEL DOWN http://www.chapeldown.com Twitter: @ChapelDownWines
COATES & SEELY http://www.coatesandseely.com Twitter: @coatesandseely
COTTONWORTH WINES http://www.cottonworth.co.uk Twitter: @cottonworthwines
DANEBURY VINEYARD http://www.danebury.com Twitter: @daneburyfizz
DENBIES WINE ESTATE LTD http://www.denbies.co.uk Twitter: @denbiesvineyard
DIGBY FINE ENGLISH http://www.digby-fine-english.com Twitter: @DigbyEnglish
DUNLEAVY VINEYARD http://www.dunleavyvineyards.co.uk Twitter: @DYvineyards
EXTON PARK VINEYARD http://www.extonparkvineyard.com Twitter: @ExtonVineyard
FURLEIGH ESTATE http://www.furleighestate.co.uk Twitter: @furleighwines
GIFFORDS HALL VINEYARD LTD http://www.giffordshall.co.uk Twitter: @giffordshall
GREYFRIARS VINEYARD http://www.greyfriarsvineyard.co.uk Twitter: @Greyfriarsvine
GUSBOURNE ESTATE LTD http://www.gusbourne.com Twitter: @gusbourne
GWINLLAN CONWY VINEYARD http://www.conwyvineyard.co.uk Twitter: @conwyvineyard
HAMBLEDON WINERIES LIMITED http://www.hambledonvineyard.co.uk Twitter: @Hambledonwine
HARROW & HOPE http://www.harrowandhope.com Twitter: @HarrowandHope
HATTINGLEY VALLEY WINES http://www.hattingleyvalley.co.uk Twitter: @hattingleywines
HIDDEN SPRING VINEYARD http://www.hiddenspring.co.uk Twitter: @hiddenspringuk
HUSH HEATH ESTATE http://www.hushheath.com Twitter: @HushHeath
JENKYN PLACE VINEYARD http://www.jenkynplace.com Twitter: @jenkynplacewine
LANGHAM WINE ESTATE http://www.langhamwine.co.uk Twitter: @LanghamWinery
LLAETHLIW VINEYARD http://www.llaethliw.co.uk Twitter: @Llaethliw
LYME BAY WINERY http://www.lymebaywinery.co.uk Twitter: @LymeBayWineLtd
MONTGOMERY VINEYARD http://www.montgomeryvineyard.co.uk Twitter: @montgomery_vy
NYETIMBER http://www.nyetimber.com Twitter: @Nyetimber
OXNEY ORGANIC ESTATE http://www.oxneyestate.com Twitter: @oxneyestate
RAIMES ENGLISH SPARKLING http://www.raimes.co.uk , Twitter: @RaimesSparkling
RIDGEVIEW WINE ESTATE http://www.ridgeview.co.uk Twitter: @RidgeviewWineUK
SIXTEEN RIDGES http://www.sixteenridges.co.uk Twitter: @16ridges
SIMPSON WINES. https://simpsonswine.com/ Twitter: @simpsonwine
SMITH AND EVANS http://www.smithandevans.co.uk Twitter: @smithandevans
THREE CHOIRS VINEYARDS http://www.three-choirs-vineyards.co.uk Twitter: @threechoirsnewent
WESTWELL WINE ESTATES http://www.westwellwines.com Twitter: @westwellwines
WHITE CASTLE VINEYARD http://www.whitecastlevineyard.com Twitter: @Welshwines
WINDSOR GREAT PARK VINEYARD http://www.windsorgreatparkvineyard.com
WISTON ESTATE WINERY http://www.wistonestate.com Twitter: @WistonSparkling
WYFOLD VINEYARD http://www.wyfoldvineyard.com
REGIONAL VINEYARD ASSOCIATIONS
SOUTH WEST VINEYARDS ASSOCIATION http://www.swva.info Twitter: @SWVineyardsUK
WELSH VINEYARDS ASSOCIATION http://www.winetrailwales.co.uk Twitter: @winetrailwales
SOUTH EAST VINEYARDS ASSOCIATION http://www.seva.uk.com Twitter: @englishwinenews
EAST ANGLIA VINEYARDS ASSOCIATION http://www.eastanglianwines.co.uk Twitter: @InfoEAVA
THAMES & CHILTERNS VINEYARDS ASSOCIATION thameschilternsvineyards.org.uk
MERCIAN VINEYARDS ASSOCIATION http://www.mercianvineyards.org.uk Twitter: @MercianVineyard
WESSEX VINEYARDS ASSOCIATION http://wessex.wine
I hope ALL of the above info is correct… If Not let me know and I will edit immediately.
Back in a few days……