English wine is on the up!
With similar terroir to parts of France and a warming climate, and queues of winemakers from overseas keen to take advantage of the lack of constraints that exist in other European winemaking countries, it really should come as no surprise that English wine is making its name.
The Bricklayer’s Arms pub in Putney, Surrey, south of London – and a very nice area – is now serving English wine only. It was already serving English-only beer – which has always been regarded as the best in the world and an English passion. But the wine – a different matter.
Residing in Australia but with English heritage I have read with interest about the prize-winning sparklings from Nyetimber and Camel vineyards, and this pub has sparklings from Ridgeview Vineyard (East Sussex).
Northern French and German grape varieties seem to be favoured for obvious reasons. Pinot blanc from Chapel Down (Kent) and the white blend called Surrey Gold from Denbies (Surrey) which I did try on a recent visit to the UK and really enjoyed it – opulent fruit, with an oiliness reminiscent of an Alsatian (not the dog…) and at a low price – it was 5.99 sterling from Waitrose. I also recall that the standout varieties for me at Denbies were varieties I had never come across before that day – including Bacchus and Ortega. They were so well suited to the climate and terroir and are included in the Surrey Gold blend.
For red wines, this pub has pinot noir from Bolney Wine Estate (Sussex), gamay from Biddenden Wine Estate (Kent) and a blend of dornfelder and rondo from Dark Harvest.
I know where I’m headed when I get back to the Old Dart…
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