When we think of countries that produce real high quality white wine, we usually think of countries like France, Italy, Australia and South Africa. It’s rare that England will spring to mind.
Despite this, the ever-growing British white wine industry is starting to put England on the map as one of the leading producers of white wine. If you’re curious about the growing hubbub surrounding English white wines, this post is for you.
English White Wine History
For centuries, the English were fully committed to drinking and enjoying the luxuries of white wine but took little interest in producing it. The small amount of white wine England did produce was often met with disparaging comments and struggled to meet the reputation of leading wine producing countries. Over the past ten years, however, this poor stature has been turned on its head.
With major emerging regions, grape varieties and styles, England is now home to more than 500 vineyards which produce a great selection of white wine. While some still wines are in production, it is traditional sparkling wine that consistently captures people’s attention and also dominates the English wine production at over 65% of all of English wine made.
Where Is English White Wine Produced?
As we all know too well, English weather can see a lot of rain for the best part of the year, particularly when we compare it to the climate of our European neighbours, France and Italy. However with some unfortunate help from global warming, the average annual temperatures in the UK are steadily rising, meaning any issues around grape ripening times could also be a thing of the past.
At this moment in time, it’s the south of England that sees a slightly warmer and drier climate which makes it the prime location for the majority of England's vineyards. The three major English wine regions are Sussex, Kent, and Surrey - each one bringing its own unique flavour combinations and grape varieties. Sussex is also poised to become the first region in England to be awarded PDO status (Protected Designation of Origin) status.
English White Wine Varieties
The most popular English white wine varieties include Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as Bacchus, Ortega and Seyval Blanc.
So what exactly do these wines taste like? Well, if it was possible to encapsulate our incredible British countryside in a glass, English wines definitely do it justice. Scents of blossom, hay, cut grass and wildflowers flood the nostrils and are followed up with delicious elderflower, apple and pear flavours - there’s something for everyone too.
If you’re keen to try some English white wines for yourself, we’d suggest taking a look at our fantastic collection which includes the Bolney Pinot Gris, the Chapel Down Bacchus or perhaps the Stopham Pinot Blanc 2015.