With the holiday season around the corner, start stocking up with some of our top-scoring English sparklings and still wines tasted this year. From premium sparklers to canned food charmers, from elegant still reds and whites to luscious dessert wine, there is something for everyone. All wines are above 88 points.
Chapel Down’s Kit’s Coty single-vineyard range is also one of our favourites to follow. In addition to the Blanc de Blancs, the alluring Chardonnay and the gorgeously aromatic Bacchus are well worth the spotlight, too.
In fact, we are seeing riper and more characterful expressions of Bacchus across the board. Cambridge Urban Winery Gutter&Stars’ Bacchus 2021 adds a dash of aromatic sparkle to the varietal typicity. Denbies’ Sparkling Bacchus 2019 is an affordable food charmer that exhilarates your spirit with vibrant green fruits. Redbrook Estate‘s paper-and-pouch-packaged Bacchus, while achieving intensity and freshness, proposes a greener and lighter option for packaging.
We also encountered a range of ‘alternative’ inspirations this year, including a canned sparkling white blend by The Royal Agricultural University, a value ‘Italian style’ fizz from Bramble Hill, and a late-harvest sweet Schönburger by Biddenden Vineyards. We also sneaked in a surprisingly light-hearted and fun Welsh wine, the Amphora Solaris from Gwinllan Hebron, for you to try.
The latest on wines of the UK
Bucking the gloomy trend of the pandemic, the sales of wines from England and Wales saw a remarkable 69% growth between 2019 and 2021, according to an industry survey conducted by Wine GB.
The national trade organisation says that the direct-to-consumer sector with a 265% increase played a crucial part in the overall growth.
Sussex achieved their long-waited PDO status in early July, despite a potential overhaul of the current PDO and PGI schemes, as WineGB just announced an ‘industry-wide’ consultation this autumn in an effort to ensure these protected origin status are ‘fit for purpose’.
The UK now has 3758ha of land under vine (in 2022, not including new plantings), encompassing 896 vineyards and 197 wineries. Chardonnay (1179ha), Pinot Noir (1,164ha) and Pinot Meunier (327) remain the favourites of wine growers in England and Wales, while cool-climate varieties such as Bacchus (264ha), Seyval Blanc (117ha) and Solaris (93ha) are increasingly valued for their ability to produce quality still wines.
While sparkling wines still account for 68% of the country’s total wine production (8.95 billion bottles in 2021), a third of the share is now taken up by a wide range of still wines.