Good Food Blog
In praise of English winePosted at 10:58AM, 27 May 2008 by Sarah Jane Evans - Master of Wine
Have you ever bought a bottle of English wine? And, once you've got it home, have you ever dared to offer it to friends? I ask because I am a fan of England's top wines but I find that it can be like pushing water uphill to get friends to try them without being prejudiced. They just aren't willing to belive they are 'real wines'.
Don't get me wrong, my friends are normally very open-minded, but if I offer them English wine they think the wine is bound to be bad. No one ever says to me, 'ah, Bacchus from Sussex, what a treat!', though they would all cheerfully say 'New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, yes please'. So all too often I duck out of the stress and offer a crowd-pleaser from France or NZ. Buying English isn't a cheap option - it's expensive growing grapes in the UK.
No one ever says to me, 'ah, Bacchus from Sussex, what a treat!', though they would all cheerfully say 'New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, yes please'.
If you have bought an English wine recently, what was it? Was it from your local winery? I'm a real fan of the good sparklings - companies such as Ridgeview, Nyetimber , Camel Valley , Chapel Down - and some Champagne houses are investing in English vineyards because the soil is the same, and the climate improving. There's a great array of floral, light whites, along with roses. Reds are improving all the time and there's a little community of sweet wines.
Since it's English Wine Week, for the sake of the growing English wine industry, discover an English wine this week. But donÃ¢ÂÂt stop there; buy and discover another after the week is over, and then another. The UK's winemakers are every bit as serious as their New World counterparts, and we need to support them if we like their wines.
To paraphrase an advertising campaign slogan: Wines from the UK's vineyards are for life, not just for English Wine Week.