Did you know that English wine has been around for over 2,000 years? The first grape vines were planted by the Romans. Quite how successful they were we don’t know but there is evidence to suggest they did produce their own wines in England.
Since then the English Wine industry has grown from a few determined wine enthusiasts into a globally recognised industry. Many vineyards are selling out of wine within the first year of release and some vineyards are even able to enforce strict allocation of their wines. It seems the Romans were onto something.
Even the English Royal family are getting involved; the Queen has her own vineyard producing highly sought after sparkling wines in very limited supply. So what makes English wine so special?
Location Location Location
It would appear it’s all down to geography, specifically the ‘terroir’ of England’s southern coast. The rock and soil that makes the wines in France so rich and vibrant with flavour are also found in England’s southern coast line. This natural Geological structure extends all the way across under the channel to the South East of England. It would appear that it’s quite logical for England to grow wonderful grapes and produce exceptional wines.
An ideal climate
The English sun in the summer does not have the same intensity as in Southern Europe. This bodes well for the delicate grape varieties which are ideal for producing white and sparkling wines. White grape skins are slightly thinner than red grape skins, which means they’re able to grow and flourish in cooler climates. This is good news for England.
World class winemakers
The final ingredient comes from world class winemakers, which England has plenty of. Many having trained at the most prestigious central European wine houses and then turned their craft and knowledge to developing and producing English wines. Even the new boys such as Renegade London have had experience working with French vineyards.
Still unsure where to start?
With this in mind here are some helpful tips to enjoy your English wine journey.
1: English white wines from England are best enjoyed with salty and freshwater fish dishes. To keep it traditionally British, pair with fish and chips.
2: English sparkling wines aren’t just wonderful celebration wines, they’re an ideal aperitif. Serve with cured meats, parma ham and ripe cherry tomatoes or with Scottish smoked salmon on crusty bread.
3: English rose is perfect on a summer’s day. The delicate fruit notes of strawberries and raspberries are balanced with soft acidity. These wines have enough body to be enjoyed with chunky chips or simply on their own.
4: Rarer to find are English red wines. Try these with pesto pasta dishes and light cured meats. Delicate flavours are key.
5: Explore some of the lesser known English wines. The organic English sparkling wines from Oxney or Trevibban Mill are a must.