British wine and in particular, English wine, has been absolutely booming in recent years. Although a way off our French and Italian cousins, there are new vineyards popping up all over Britain these days; in fact, HMRC applications are up more than 40% just in the last year.
English red wine, English white wine, Welsh white wine and even bubbly, you name it and us Brits are probably making it when it comes to wine which has led the Octavian team to do some research into the Great British wine brands and which you should be filling your cellars with.
So, what are the best British and English wines? We have selected some of the vineyards and bottles that have been receiving all the accolades in recent years.
The ever so regal sounding Exton Park sparkling wine is made by Corinne Seely who you may have also seen on the front of bottles such as Coates & Seely Rose NV, and this offering comes with the same guarantee of quality.
This bubbly has a rich complexity and lingering “minerality” that only a Brut provides and is available in three sizes. It is though that this is actually the only English sparkling wine to be available in all sizes as well as a magnum, which was released towards the end of last year.
Pinot Noir’s obviously lend themselves well to the new world and they don’t come much newer than Kent when it comes to the production of English red wine. People have been taking notice of this vineyard for some time now and many believe this 2016 vintage is their best offering to date.
This wine is made up of Burgundy clones and oaked by winemakers Victoria Ash and Owen Alias, who have a fantastic reputation for creating unforgettable and long-lasting flavours.
This wine has a fragrant nose of raspberry and cherry as well as the violet taste that often comes with a good quality Pinot Noir, even those from warmer climes. If you are fond of a vanilla after taste from your red wines, then we recommend checking out what is sure to go down as an English classic.
This one got the nod as our great English white wine not least due to the rave reviews it has been getting in publications as respected as The Telegraph.
The Winston Estate in general has been increasing in popularity due to the fact that they have an uncanny knack for creating bottles with the perfect levels of crisp acidity and intense flavours.
These can be too much for the feint hearted but wine critics who have the desire for a wine that packs a punch just can’t get enough of this white English classic-to-be.
We couldn’t finish this guide without at least one Welsh wine, as the region has been responsible for some absolute belters in recent times.
The Glyndwr get the vote purely due to the fact that we can’t stop drinking it here at Octavian HQ and it comes from the oldest family run vineyard in Wales. The fizz is made using an age-old technique and the tried and trusted Rondo and Seyval Blanc grapes.
We can’t really sum up the flavour of this one better than “biscuity strawberry”, but you get the idea and we urge you to try this sparkling welsh rose sooner rather than later; although it may lend itself a little better to the summer months. You can buy this little number quite easily from Waitrose Cellar amongst other places.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any truly great Scottish or Irish wines to shout about quite yet, but they do of course have some of the planet’s finest whiskeys (and whiskies) to shout about so we will let them off for now. But don’t be surprised to see some wines emanating from these regions very soon, as there are vineyards all over Britain developing some very exciting reputations.
If this has sparked your interest and you want to learn more, then you should head to websites such as englishwineproducers.co.uk or greatbritishwine.com as these focus on the topics we have covered. Who knows, you may even look into starting a vineyard of your own some day!
For more articles, just like this guide to Great British wine brands, take a good look around the rest of the Octavian Vaults blog. We have features on everything from wine investment, optimal cellarage and even the best places to travel to around the world to enjoy the finest wines.