London's Cultural Guide

Three to try: English Wine

It's surely that time of year, isn't it? Stephen Emms picks a trio worth investigating

Stopham Estate

‘A pale yellow off-dry pinot gris is the more fruity of the two whites’. Photo: PR

Planted in 2007 in the South Downs in West Sussex, this vineyard’s wines are the perfect tonic for any English oeno-sceptics. While a pale yellow off-dry pinot gris is the more fruity of the two whites on offer, with some ripe peachy notes, it’s also crisp with a citrusy tang. Our favourite white, however, is the pinot blanc, drier with the vaguest hint of sweetness: very refreshing. An attractively pale pink rosé yields real balance with dry sherbet-like summer fruits: definitely more raspberries than strawberries. A label worth investigating. More here.

Chapel Down

‘Chapel Down rosé is a standard in our house over summer.’ Photo: PR

The famous Tenterden vineyard in Kent is a staple of many London restaurants these days, supplying the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, as well as the Royal Opera House. Stick its light Union Red pinot noir in the fridge for an hour and you’ll really appreciate its delicate, fruity notes and low tannins. The basic rosé is a standard in our house over summer: a little over tenner a bottle, it’s a fun match for Côtes de Provence (of which one of our favourites currently is the dry, creamy Mirabeau) and has won awards to prove it. And the non-vintage fizz more than rivals champagne. More here.


Nyetimber has sites in West Sussex and Hampshire. Photo: PR

This vineyard’s mission statement was to make “the finest English sparkling wine there is,” produced from 170 hectares at sites in West Sussex and Hampshire. And their vineyards were the first to be devoted exclusively to the holy trinity of champagne grapes: chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir. The Blanc de Blancs 2009 is a winner: pale in colour, with lots of bubbles and floral, acidic notes. And the sparkling rosé is so gluggable, with its notes of cherry and a dry, creamy raspberry-ness, that it’s almost too easy to finish. More here.

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