The English Wine Week arrives just in time as an early-summer hot spell continues in the UK. From special offers in supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and bars, to vineyard open days in the countryside, now is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the fast-expanding world of English wines.
The Decanter team has hand-picked a characterful selection of English sparkling and still wines for you to enjoy under the sun. Be spoiled for choice with premium bubbles, crunchy whites, floral rosés and delicate reds – the zingy English acidity is bound to brighten up the entire summer. All wines are above 88 points.
Due to their increasingly high average quality, choosing English fizzes is now a matter of stylistic preference. Exton Park’s Blanc de Blancs 2014, Coates & Seely’s Brut Reserve NV and Ridgeview’s Blanc de Blancs 2018 are among some of the fuller, more textured and more complex expressions. Opt for Langham’s Corallian Classic Cuveé NV for a more delicate and mineral style.
To add a touch of blush, Hattingley Valley’s Kings Cuvée Rosé 2015 and Hambledon Vineyard’s Classic Cuvée Rosé NV are top-notch choices for textural pleasure and complexity. Black Chalk’s 2022 Dancer in Pink puts up a show of ripe summer berries and cream.
As hot weather continues, nothing eases the thirst better than a grassy, chilled Bacchus. Fresh from the 2022 vintage, Balfour‘s Liberty’ Bacchus is a full-on display of the variety’s aromatic flare, while Chapel Down’s Kit’s Coty Bacchus 2020 is a testament to its potential to produce fine wine. Made by freezing the Bacchus grape, Hattingley Valley’s Entice Dessert Wine 2022 is a surprise find that well-balances green and tropical fruits.
The latest on wines of the UK
In 2022, 12.2 million bottles of wine were produced in Great Britain, a 130% increase from 2017, according to the most recent survey conducted by industry body WineGB.
The UK now has 3928ha of land under vine, encompassing 943 vineyards and 209 wineries. Chardonnay (1228ha), Pinot Noir (1,141ha) and Pinot Meunier (343) remain the favourites of wine growers in England and Wales, while cool-climate varieties such as Bacchus (298ha), Seyval Blanc (122ha) and Solaris (95ha) 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 (12.2 billion bottles in 2022), a third of the share is now taken up by a wide range of still wines.