We all know England is becoming renowned for its fantastic white wines, particularly sparkling, but we shouldn’t overlook English rosé wines, which are another great success story.
As many as a third of UK vineyards grow pinot noir grapes, while 13% grow pinot meunier, according to the 2019 WineGB Industry Survey. These two grapes are key components to making the classic English blanc de noirs, as well as sparkling and still rosés.
The cool English climate and chalky slopes of the south enable wineries to make delicious pinks of crisp acidity and fresh red berry fruit flavours. Pinot noir plays a crucial part in shaping the styles and characteristics for most of them.
One of our favourites is the Jenkyn Place Rosé 2014, winner of several international medals. Delicate flavours of rosehip, redcurrant and cranberry run through this pinot noir-dominated wine.
Chapel Down Rosé Brut is another example, a sparkling rosé with wild strawberry aromas and toasty brioche character.
But there are also a handful of English wines where the pinot meunier grape plays the lead role.
The Grange Hampshire Pink is a great example, with the meunier providing a vibrant fruity palate and a biscuity finish.
Bolney Rosé, with 50% pinot meunier, is summer in a bottle with its fragrance of gardenia, raspberry and lychee.
The other grape which often features in English rosé is chardonnay. Usually used as a smaller percentage of blends, it can provide lovely acidity. The Hambledon Classic Cuvee Rosé, with an unusually high blend of 90% chardonnay, proves this grape makes a beautifully vivid wine, full or minerality with a hint of sweetness.