Meeting Mark Driver of Rathfinny, talking PDOs

Mark Driver’s Rathfinny Estate has become one of the most talked about English wineries, even though they haven’t released any wine. I caught up with him (he’s pictured above) to hear a bit of his story, and discuss the move towards a PDO (protected designation of origin) for Sussex wine, which has been in the [...]

A PDO for Sussex Sparkling? And who owns the trademark?

An interesting story is brewing in the world of English sparkling wine. Victoria Moore reports on it here in The Telegraph, and pretty much nails it.

So a coalition of Sussex wineries – Rathfinny, Ridgeview, Bolney – are applying for a PDO (protected designation of origin). This is an official EU designation for quality products that [...]

The 2014s from London Cru

Last night I had a chance to look at the 2014s from London’s Urban winery London Cru. For those unfamiliar with the winery, see this article based on a visit when they were taking in their first harvest in 2013, and my report on the first releases.

The 2014s are looking very good. As with the [...]

Coates & Seely's remarkable La Perfide

This is one of the UK’s best sparkling wines yet, I reckon. It’s a newly released vintage bottling from Coates & Seely, and is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir/40% Pinot Meunier grown on Hampshire chalk. This vintage wine was subsequently aged for four years sur latte before disgorgement in March 2014. Christian Seely has [...]

Kingscote The Bacchus, one of England's best still wines?

Could this be the best still English wine I have tasted? It’s from a 15 acre vineyard in Sussex, that’s on a much larger estate owned by Christen Monge. In a former life Chris was a global director of an advertising agency based in Hong Kong. he bought the property in 1999, and since returning [...]

Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs Late Disgorged 2007

This is amazing. One of the best sparkling wines I’ve tried from the UK. It has been aged on its lees for 70 months. It shows what’s possible in England with a bit of extra time on lees, especially with Chardonnay. I understand the economics, but too many wines are being released before they’ve really [...]

Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2010, another fine English sparkling wine

I’m getting quite excited by the progress of English sparkling wine. Here’s another good one. Gusbourne Estate is one of the most highly reputed of the English producers, and they’ve got sizeable vineyard holdings: 40 hectares in Kent and 22 in West Sussex. Gusbourne was founded by Andrew Weeber in 2004, and first vintage was [...]

Hambledon Classic Cuvee, a brilliant new English sparkling wine

Hambledon Vineyard has history. It was established in 1952, the first of the new era vineyards in the UK. The village of Hambledon is also the cradle of the sport of cricket.

Hambledon Vineyard was bought by Ian Kellett in 1999, and he decided fairly soon on that the future for England is sparkling wine. He [...]

Smith & Evans Higher Plot Pinot Chardonnay 2010 Somerset

Always good to see a new English sparkling wine that’s of top quality. I was really impressed by this. It’s the first crop from a vineyard in Somerset, planted in 2008 by Guy and Laura (the Smith & Evans behind the wine) and you can find out more about it on the Smith & Evans [...]

Three English Sparkling wines: Jenkyn Place, Lagnham, Meon Hill

Three English sparkling wines, all quite new to the scene. The first, Jenkyn Place, comes from a 5 hectare estate on the North Hampshire downs, and the wine is made by Dermot Sugrue, an experienced English sparkling winemaker.

Jenkyn Place Brut 2009 England
12% alcohol. Fresh and tight with lively, precise citrus fruit as well as [...]