Today sees the start of English Wine Week (May 24–June 1) a perfect time to showcase an industry on the move.
New vineyards are being planted at breakneck speed and last year’s bumper harvest made up for the dismal 2012 vintage. The International Wine Challenge also awarded gold to five English sparkling wines recently.
Chapel Down English Rose (Majestic £26.99 or £17.99 for two) is a perfect introduction to English fizz with lovely pale colour, a good mousse and notes of blackcurrant and strawberry.
Sparkling has a fantastic future but there are some lovely still whites too.
Chapel Down Bacchus 2013 (Waitrose £12.99) is almost England’s answer to sauvignon blanc – very fresh with green apple, herbs, lychees and crisp acidity.
Waitrose was the first supermarket to plant a vineyard and this is the first release from its Hampshire estate.
Made by the team from top sparkling wine estate Ridgeview, this is a real statement of intent, with citrus, apple and toasty notes on the nose, a fine mousse and a creamy palate with a great finish. Bravo!
Waitrose £29.99 – not in all stores but available online.