Cool climate producers are taking over the world. New Zealand is leading the way producing some of the most fantastic Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir around, but England is not far behind and is carving out a reputation for quality. You may think that in the UK we don't have the right climate for growing good wine grapes, and if the weather we've had over the last month or two was anything to go by, you'd be right.
Despite this, we have vineyards in the UK as far north as Fife (Chateau Largo,) we've had a long standing tradition of making wine here going back to Roman times and there are more than 40 Vineyards mentioned in the Doomsday Book.
Currently we are fortunate enough to have over 350 vineyards in the UK producing some of the best value wines around, due in no small part to the diminutive shipping costs. One of our favourites is Three Choirs in north Gloucestershire, where one of our team recently spent a fantastic afternoon being shown around.
With 75 acres under vine growing 20 varieties, it's one of the largest growers in the UK producing a fantastic range of delicate white, sparkling and even red wine. The standard house dry is gentle and crisp, the Siegerrebe is more spicy and full bodied. The star of the show is their Bacchus, the variety for which England is developing a strong reputation. It lends itself to more ripe fruit driven wines with good acidity and body. Their Pinot Noir is also surprisingly good considering it's notoriously difficult to grow even in ideal conditions, so good in fact that they even do a fantastic sparkling Blanc de Noirs.
Don't get me wrong, this is not wine of which legends are made. You won't be seeing a Rudy Kurniawan style English wine fraud any time soon, but it's great to know that despite what they may tell you on the continent English wine is good, worth buying and most importantly, worth drinking.