Jubilee English Wine Festival
So how are the plans going for the forthcoming Jubilee weekend? Pinned down Sunday’s activities? If the 1000-strong Thames flotilla is part of your day, or you are heading anywhere near the South Bank or Borough Market, make tracks for the Jubilee English Wine Festival. .
Being held – appropriately enough – in Jubilee Market at Borough Market – that’s right behind The Rake, and within spitting distance of Vinopolis and BrewWharf for those of you who know the area – here’s a way to toast the Queen with some bubbles from the homeland.
Organised by those intrepid girls behind Borough Market’s very own Wine Pantry, 100s of tickets have already been sold so don't delay. The rollcall of wineries present looks seriously strong, with over 60 on offer – see below for a few highlights. You can expect award-winning still wines – think aromatic Bacchus and texture-filled Ortega – alongside the fizz.
Borough Market’s finest food providers will be serving up suitably British fare to accompany the wine. With some of the nation's best cheese, smoked salmon, and everything from cucumber sandwiches to strawberries and cream, think of this as the market equivalent of a street party.
Wines on offer include a few debut outings from leading English wine producers: look out for Wiston Estate's Trouble with dreams. The boutique Kent Meopham winery will be bringing a special Jubilee Cuvée – they were the ones allowed to use the Queen's face on their label! Fresh from their top win at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, Bolney Estate will be on hand, as will be fellow Gold medallists, Nyetimber, Camel Valley and Gusbourne. Look out for newcomers Jenkyn Place and Meon Hill from Hampshire – could this be the new hotspot for top wine?
On the still front, expect a riot of white and pink, with Biddenden's famous Ortega, and fine examples of of Bacchus from around the land vieing for your attention along with Sharpham's textural Barrel Fermented Madeleine Angevine and Hush Heath's Nannette's English Rose, named after the founder, Richard Balfour Lynn's daughter.
For the full list with handy notes, see here.
Make mine an English
If you haven't visited the Wine Pantry, you really should. Possibly London's smallest shop – certainly the tiniest tasting room – it's the only UK vintner to sell only English wine. And if that puts you in mind of fusty, oxidised whites and dusty reds, think again. Using their snazzy By the Glass machines, wines are kept in tip-top condition.
You can opt for a tasting flight – six tastes for a fiver – or go for a glass of your choice. I visited recently with Jane Peyton, aka School of Booze and greatly enjoyed our whistle stop by the glass tour of English wineries. With charismatic staff sharing their knowledge along the way, expect an entertaining half hour as you perch at the barrels sipping your seriously fashionable sparkling wine.
Jubilee Wine Festival: tickets cost £10, which gives you a souvenir wine glass to hold onto, plus five tasting tokens.
Available online for collection on the day, tickets can also be bought in person at the Wine Pantry, 1 Stoney Street, Borough Market; open Tues-Sat until 8pm.