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: late-night venues express anger at their lack of government support, landlord Shaftesbury announces it has only collected 41% of rents in the first half of the year and Adam Handling introduces Chelsea to wagyu and wine Wednesdays. 

Scottish university students told not to go to pubs

University students in Scotland have been told to avoid going to pubs, bars and restaurants this weekend in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

UK coronavirus curfew like 'shooting the wounded' says top chef

New restrictions imposed on the UK hospitality sector in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19 have been described by one Michelin-starred chef as tantamount to “shooting the wounded”.

The French Laundry launches lavish US$850 dining experience

Chef Thomas Keller’s three Michelin-starred Napa restaurant The French Laundry has launched a lavish $850 per person private dining experience.

Quarter of hospitality venues believe they could fail in three months

New findings from the British Beer & Pub Association and other hospitality industry bodies show that almost a quarter of their members believe their businesses could fail in the next three months without support.

Most Recent Stories

Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

In restaurant news this week: late-night venues express anger at their lack of government support, landlord Shaftesbury announces it has only collected 41% of rents in the first half of the year and Adam Handling introduces Chelsea to wagyu and wine Wednesdays. 

Scottish university students told not to go to pubs

University students in Scotland have been told to avoid going to pubs, bars and restaurants this weekend in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

UK coronavirus curfew like 'shooting the wounded' says top chef

New restrictions imposed on the UK hospitality sector in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19 have been described by one Michelin-starred chef as tantamount to “shooting the wounded”.

The French Laundry launches lavish US$850 dining experience

Chef Thomas Keller’s three Michelin-starred Napa restaurant The French Laundry has launched a lavish $850 per person private dining experience.

Quarter of hospitality venues believe they could fail in three months

New findings from the British Beer & Pub Association and other hospitality industry bodies show that almost a quarter of their members believe their businesses could fail in the next three months without support.