Top unusual English and Welsh wines to try

In honour of English Wine Week, we’ve rounded up some of the more unconventional styles of wine available in the UK for you to take a punt on.

Hear the term ‘English wine’ today and your first thought is a traditional method sparkling wine made from the three classic Champagne varieties: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier.

Indeed, the term ‘English sparkling wine’ is protected. In order for a wine to qualify it must be made from one or a combination of grapes from an approved list, and must be made via the traditional method. But not all sparkling wine made in England conforms to these regulations. As the category has evolved, we’ve seen pétillant naturel (Pet Nat) and tank method wines emerge onto the scene.

Ask someone what ‘English wine’ was 20 years ago, and the answer would be different. While Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier are now the most planted varieties in the UK, there was a time when mostly German early-ripening varieties were grown. Some, including Bacchus, Reichensteiner and Ortega, remain popular.

Rather than always being made into semi-sweet fruity wines, however, they are being treated in different ways. Indeed, within the English and Welsh still wine sectors, there are now examples of orange and qvevri wines, made from both German and hybrid varieties as well as the classic Champagne trio.

The area under vine in the UK has increased dramatically in the past five years, with a total of 3 million vines planted last year alone. According to WineGB, the hectarage planted with grape vines has risen by 79% since 2015. While the majority of these vines are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier, there have been some more unusual plantings, including Pinotage in West Sussex.

England now has a diverse set of grape varieties, which include Albariño, Cabernet Franc, Chasselas, Gamay, Gewurztraminer, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc.

Grouped into style categories, we’ve rounded up a list of the more unusual wines made in England and Wales to try during English and Welsh Wine Week.

Leave your reply

Most Recent Stories

Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

In restaurant news this week: the UK government plans to discuss further restrictions with hospitality leaders, a new meal kit platform prepares to launch, and chef Jack Stein renews his partnership with St Austell.  

Biden their time: Belgian bar lifts boycott on American whiskey

A Belgian bar that made headlines worldwide after boycotting American whiskey and Coca-Cola has announced that it will lift the ban now Donald Trump is no longer president.

9,930 licensed premises lost in UK last year

The coronavirus pandemic led to the permanent closure of 9,930 licensed premises last year, according to a recent report from CGA and AlixPartners.

HK cocktail bars offer lunch amid fourth pandemic wave

With bars across Hong Kong closed due to the current Covid-19 restrictions in the territory, some cocktail bars have started serving food instead.

Hospitality for Heroes launches cookbook

Hospitality for Heroes, a not-for-profit initiative that has provided over 100,000 meals for the NHS since the start of the pandemic, has launched a cookbook. 

Most Recent Stories

Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

In restaurant news this week: the UK government plans to discuss further restrictions with hospitality leaders, a new meal kit platform prepares to launch, and chef Jack Stein renews his partnership with St Austell.  

Biden their time: Belgian bar lifts boycott on American whiskey

A Belgian bar that made headlines worldwide after boycotting American whiskey and Coca-Cola has announced that it will lift the ban now Donald Trump is no longer president.

9,930 licensed premises lost in UK last year

The coronavirus pandemic led to the permanent closure of 9,930 licensed premises last year, according to a recent report from CGA and AlixPartners.

HK cocktail bars offer lunch amid fourth pandemic wave

With bars across Hong Kong closed due to the current Covid-19 restrictions in the territory, some cocktail bars have started serving food instead.

Hospitality for Heroes launches cookbook

Hospitality for Heroes, a not-for-profit initiative that has provided over 100,000 meals for the NHS since the start of the pandemic, has launched a cookbook.