English Wine Tasting 2014 highlights

Sparkling Glasses

Earlier this year English wineries gathered a stone's throw from Parliament Square to share their wines with the drinks trade. Following a good, if challenging at times, harvest in 2013, the still wines didn't disappoint, and the sparklers once more showed why England is becoming such a force on the fizz world stage.

Here are my highlights, as prepared for Imbibe, the magazine for restaurants, pubs and bars.

Bluebell Hindleap Blanc de Blancs 2010, Sussex

If its Classic Cuvée 2010 is looking good right now, Bluebell’s Blanc de Blancs is even better. Lively on the nose with lemonny citrus notes, the palate has excellent depth, good mousse and a long finish. Lemon notes run alongside candied pineapple, and a mix of green and russet apples and comice pears. 

Bluebell Vineyard, 01825 791561, selected Waitrose

Bolney Wine Estate Pinot Gris 2013, Sussex

There’s something about this pocket of Sussex that is bringing the best out of the Pinot Gris grape. Delightful white flowers on the nose lead to an incredible depth of white stone fruit flavours, sweet spice, and pineapple acidity. Surprise yourself – and your customers. 

Bolney Wine Estate, 01444 881575; also Sheridan Coopers, Davy’s Wine Merchants, C&O Wines, Yorkshire Vintners

Court Garden Blanc de Blancs 2010, Sussex

With marzipan and white flowers on the nose, there’s a fabulour depth of white fruits and almonds on the palate, with a light citrus zest on the long finish. Look out also for the precise and complex Blanc de Noirs and the creamy textured Classic Cuvée 2010. 

Court Garden Vineyard, 01273 844479

Chapel Down Pinot Blanc 2011 & Chardonnay 2011, Kent

Exceptional depth from both these varietals. The Pinot Blanc shows white flower scents and a mandarin flourish alongside excellent stone fruit flavours, while the Chardonnay has incredible ripe tropical fruit notes throughout, and delightfully tangy white peach notes on the palate. 

Chapel Down, 01580 763033

Henners Reserve 2009, Sussex          

An uplifting mix of citrus zest and yeasty notes leads to a seriously complex and long-lived palate. Packed with yellow tropical fruits. With a long finish, this is decadently food friendly. Also look out for the and the summer in a glass Rosé 2010. SF

Others looking trim and stylish included offerings from Nyetimber, Camel Valley – we loved both the still and sparkling rosés – Gusbourne, the forthcoming Litmus still whites, an imaginative Wiston Estate range, and the new NV Classic Cuvée from Hambledon.