Raise a glass and celebrate English Wine Week

Times Drinks Editor James Viner seeks out five palate-pleasing English wines that are worth cracking open…


The English wine industry is thriving, with increasing sales, production, and recognition through awards and accolades. English Wine Week, which started June 17 and runs until June 25, is a chance to discover wines made on our doorstep, visit a picturesque vineyard and purchase some local wine. It’s an opportunity to let our produce shine. Cheers!


 1)  Stopham Estate Pinot Blanc 2022, W. Sussex (£15.95, Stopham, stophamvineyard.co.uk)

What a little charmer! Nab this lovely, please-all (ideal for summer weddings), textural wine from Pulborough, W. Sussex, with notes of lemon blossom, orchard fruits, honeydew melon and pink grapefruit, plus a tickle of fennel. Masses of class and interest per penny. Bring on buttered scallops, crab linguine, dim sum, gyoza, pan-fried cod, prawn cocktails, Manchego cheese and smoked fish! Available at a very fair price and easy to love. My sort of wine. The winery and six-hectare estate, planted on sandy soils in the South Downs National Park, is the creation of Simon Woodhead, who launched his career as an engineer designing parts for Formula 1 cars. Alc 12%


 2)  Silverhand Estate, Silver Reign Brut NV, Luddesdown, Kent (£17, The Wine Caverns, thewinecaverns.co.uk)

The best Charmat/tank-method (Prosecco/Asti/major German Sekt method) UK wine I’ve tasted to date – a bright fizz from Kent with an open, honest, fruit-forward appeal that bursts with ripe citrus, stone fruit, pears and hedgerow flowers. Immensely cheerful. Made from organically cultivated Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes. Surprisingly good length of flavour through the pleasingly dry finish. Tasted at last week’s ‘Taste of London’ event in Regent’s Park. Alc 12.5%


3)  Westwell Double Pinot Noir 2022, Kent (£25, Westwell Wines, westwellwines.com)

Very respectable, juicy, light-bodied Pinot Meunier (70%) co-fermented using wild yeasts with Pinot Noir (30%) at Westwell Wines, just beneath the Pilgrims Way on the North Downs in Kent. Expressive violet, cranberry and summer berry scents mix with spice and bright, elegant red fruits. Great balance and rather fun to drink. Begging to be lightly chilled and consumed this summer. Bottled without fining or filtration. Joyful, compelling stuff, though by no means underpriced. However, buy for a real treat and support this exciting, expanding, local business.


4)  Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé NV, Hampshire (£37, Hambledon, hambledonvineyard.co.uk)

This is an exquisite Hants bubbly – and a fab picnic wine – with a kiss of ripe red berry fruits, subtle brioche and convincing mineral persistence. It’s a blend of 86% Chardonnay and 14% Pinot Noir from the southeast-facing chalky slopes of Windmill Down, in the historic village of Hambledon – reputedly the cradle of cricket – with a full four years (give or take a couple of months) ageing in the bottle on yeast lees, too. Established in 1952, Hambledon is the country’s oldest commercial vineyard. Comes in a handsome gift box. Alc 12%


5)  Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2018, Kent (£65, Gusbourne, gusbourne.com)

First-rate local English sparkling wine (100% Chardonnay) from Appledore with a minerality and finesse to its mouthfeel that immediately sets it apart from other UK sparkling wines I’ve tried. This is very pure and refined and it’ll become even more complex with more time on the cork. Utterly enticing and bang on for camembert and seafood, especially oysters and lobsters. A grapefruit-pith sensation adds freshness, tension and bite to the protracted finish. Love it. A deserved winner of a ‘Best in Show’ (in the top 50) award at this year’s coveted Decanter World Wine Awards. Alc 12%


Check out winegb.co.uk/events/english-wine-week-events for more details. Share your experiences using #EnglishWineWeek and tagging @WineGb across social media

Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine

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