British wines are having a moment. Although our instincts might make us reach for the Provencal rose, a Malborough Sauvignon Blanc (trust us) or a Spanish Merlot, the British wine must not be forgotten.
Through the trials and tribulations of lockdowns and Brexit, British products have become increasingly popular - and so they should.
To put this theory to the test our team tried a selection of wines from some of the most celebrated British vineyards in the UK at the moment. From Sussex to Kent and beyond, these wines did not disappoint - more so, they left a lasting impression. Read through our Best of British wines below, which are arguably (in our opinion) becoming some of the best wines in the world.
The Bolney Estate, Sussex
The award-winning Bolney Estate in Sussex started their vineyard journey in 1972 when Janet and Rodney Pratt bought the property. Bolney Estate has become a real family affair with their daughter becoming the head of the winemaking team. Bolney’s wine making style is unique and with their state-of-the-art winery installed in 2019, they make up to 500,000 bottles a year. With 36 acres and 5 unique vineyard sites, Bolney’s has gone from strength to strength, winning UK Producer of the Year and Winery of the Year, amongst various other accolades. With their 50th anniversary coming up next year we had to try two of their most popular wines.
Bolney’s Estate Pinot Gris 2018 is a sophisticated and award-winning bottle of white. The combination in their vineyards of known grape varieties and lesser known, gives Bolney’s wines an edge over traditional wine estates. The pinot gris was our favourite so had to be mentioned first - it was fruity and fresh, with hints of sweet pear aromas but a citrusy undertone. This wine is easy to drink and goes perfectly with seafood - think smoked salmon canapes on Christmas eve. Next, we tried Bolney’s Estate Eighteen Acre Rose Brut. This vibrant, deep pink rose originates from Bolney’s Eighteen Acre farm, and is fondly known as the Bolney Bubbly. Do not be put off by the deep pink colour - this non-vintage is doused in summer fruit flavours with a creamy finish, and is much lighter than it appears. This is the perfect dinner party host present, and the bottles and boxes can even be personalised! We are looking forward to trying the renowned Bolney’s Estate Pinot Noir next.
Chapel Down, Kent
When it comes to British wine institutions, Chapel Down has really solidified it’s position as England’s leading winemaker. Their award-winning South East England bubbles and wines can be found in places such as The Royal Opera House and The London Symphony House, as well as supplying No 10 Downing Street, Cambridge Boat Races and Ascot racecourse. Simply put, Chapel Down is a cool British brand to drink, and their branding is incredibly slick too. Now to put their wine to the test…
We decided to try their Kit’s Coty Estate Bacchus 2019 - Kit’s Coty is their premium collection of limited production, single varietal wines from the Kit’s Coty vineyard in the North Downs of Kent. The Bacchus is a delight to drink - with a variety of tropical fruit, melon, lychee and peach flavours, the fruitiness of this wine is endless while maintaining a crisp finish. Although the Kit’s Coty collection is on the more expensive side, we think it is worth every penny.
Gusbourne Estate, Kent
We stay in Kent for another wonderful example of a British vineyard, Gusbourne Estate. Dating back to 1410, the de Goosebourne family crest has become the label of the wine, and carries on tradition with a fine attention to detail. The vineyard focuses mainly on sparkling wine, so when Andrew Weeber took over in 2004, perfecting the British bubbles became the focus of the vineyard. Their debut vintages of Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2006 and Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2006 were released to critical acclaim in 2010.
Before touching on the wine we tried, we must say that Gusbourne had our favourite branding. Perhaps it is the luxury of the labels, perhaps it is the individual gift boxing.. Or perhaps it is that 2016 is written as twenty sixteen. These wines taste like luxury before the first sip. The Blanc de Blancs 2016 is one of their most popular products, and understandably so. This classic wine is made of the finest Chardonnay, has fresh notes of green apple and a bright golden colour. We believe these bubbles can hold their own quite comfortably amongst its champagne peers, and we believe this Blanc de Blancs will become the leader in becoming the bubbly of choice for many people.
Sharpham Wine, Devon
Last but not least, we head to beautiful Devon. Although perhaps not as well known as the above, Sharpham Wine can be seen as the more eco-conscious, carefree relative. Sharpham has been producing wines (and cheeses) for over 25 years, and focus their practices on being in harmony with the environment and natural beauty of the estate that stands on 500 acres owned by the Sharpham Trust. The location is absolutely picturesque, now on to try their wines…
The Sharpham Dart Valley Reserve 2019 has won several awards in the South West vineyards association and is bound to gain more popularity. The wine is richer than the other whites we tried, but not heavy - peach, apricot and spices dominate the palate and the full body makes this a perfect wine to accompany snacks and light dinners. We are keeping an eye on rising star Sharpham, and we are looking forward to trying their bubbly next.
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