France, Spain, Italy, New World… You can find first-class wines from so many regions in the world, but English wines rarely feature highly on wine-lovers’ go-to lists. But the English wine industry is growing fast – and for good reason.
English wines are unique and have a distinct flavour that sets them apart from other wines. In this blog post, we will explore the flavours of English wines and provide a guide to the best English wines on the market today.
English wine is defined as a wine made from grapes grown in England. This may seem obvious, but it is important to note that the grapes must be grown in England to be classified as English wine. Another prerequisite is that English wine can only be made from certain grape varieties that are suited to the English climate: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier for sparkling wines, and Bacchus, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc for still wines.
As with any wine, the flavours of English wines are determined by grape variety, the soil, and the climate of the vineyard. English wines are known for their acidity and freshness – attributed to the cool climate and short growing season. English white wines are typically dry, with crisp notes of green apple, citrus and mineral. English red wines are light-bodied and have red fruit notes such as red cherry, raspberry and cranberry. English rosé wines have a fruity and floral character, with strawberry and raspberry notes.
English sparkling wine has been gaining a reputation for its quality and taste. In fact, some critics believe that English sparkling wine is as good as Champagne – the chalky soils in many southern English vineyards are similar to those in Champagne, contributing to the unique flavour of English sparkling wine. We recommend the multi-award-winning Nyetimber Classic Cuvée as a top choice – with its delicate mousse and a complex flavour, combining notes of green apple, lemon and brioche.
Yes, there are different types of English wine. English wine can be still, sparkling, or fortified. Sparkling wine is the most common type of English wine, and it is made using traditional methods involving a secondary fermentation in the bottle. English still wine is also gaining popularity, and it is made from grapes that are not suitable for sparkling wine production. Fortified wine is made by adding grape brandy to the wine, which increases the alcohol content and adds a nutty flavour.
English wines have come a long way over the past few decades, and the quality has improved significantly. In the past, English wines were often seen as inferior to wines from other countries due to the cooler climate and shorter growing season. But advancements in technology and viticulture practices have allowed English winemakers to produce high-quality wines that are on par with some of the best wines in the world.
One of the unique characteristics of English wines is their acidity and freshness. This is due to the cooler climate, which allows the grapes to ripen slowly and retain their natural acidity. As a result, English wines have a crisp, refreshing taste that is perfect for pairing with food. English wines are also known for their fruit-forwardness and delicate floral aromas, making them a great choice for those who enjoy light and refreshing wines.
English sparkling wines are now being recognised as some of the best in the world. In fact, many English sparkling wines have beaten their French counterparts in blind taste tests. This is due to the similar climate and soil conditions to the Champagne region, which allows English winemakers to produce sparkling wines that are comparable in quality to Champagne.
So now you know. Next time you’re down your local pub, why not ask if they have any English wines, you won’t be disappointed.