Award winning English wines
In the past people have viewed English wines as a bit of a joke but that has changed over recent years and our wines are now amongst the best in the world.
English vineyards did very well in the 2018 Decanter global wine awards with 118 platinum, gold, silver, bronze and commended medals.
“Over the course of an intense week at London’s CentrEd at ExCeL, 275 judges from 33 countries assessed the entries, eventually awarding just 50 wines (0.3% of entries) the ultimate accolade of Best in Show, 149 wines (0.88% of entries) a Platinum medal and 439 wines (2.60% of entries) a Gold medal. A combined total of just over 10,500 further wines were awarded Silver or Bronze medals.
As the United Kingdom’s wine industry continues to grow, so does its submissions to the Decanter World Wine Awards.
2018 saw a total of 118 medal-winning wines from 138 entries, including 3 Platinum medals; Henners Reserve Brut from East Sussex, Digby Fine English Brut from Hampshire and a Pinot Noir Rosé Brut from Camel Valley in Cornwall, who were recently the first English winery to be awarded the Royal Warrant by Her Majesty The Queen.
Proving that homegrown wines only continue to improve in quality and innovation, 9 English wines received Gold medals. These include a Chardonnay and a Bacchus from Kent Estate Chapel Down, a Brut from recently launched Ashling Park in West Sussex and a vintage Blanc de Blancs from West Sussex producer Ambriel. 50 further wines were awarded Silver medals and 56 were awarded bronze giving the United Kingdom a total tally of 118 medals, a higher number than the United States who submitted nearly double the amount of wines to the competition.”
Chapel Down have done very well this year with one still and 2 sparkling wines getting Gold.
Scoring and Judging Wines
The number after each wine tells you the score out of 100 (the higher the better!) Gold medals start at 95 and from 98 to 100 is an exceptional wine (Platinum is 97 and above). Silver is 90-94 points. Bronze is 86-89 and Commended for 83-85.
Where a year is shown, a wine is made purely from grapes from that year. A ‘non-vintage’ (NV) is a blend of grapes from different years.
We are now producing some excellent still and sparkling white wines, mainly in the South East of England (especially Kent and Sussex).
The English climate is well suited to producing sparkling wines as in the South East of England we have a similar soil and ‘terroir’ to the Champagne region in France. Some of the French champagne houses are buying up land on the South Downs and setting up vineyards here so it will be interesting to see what their wines are like in a few years time.
Where it says ‘Brut’ this means it is a dry sparkling wine with a small amount of sugar. There are four variations in ascending order of sweetness: extra dry (or extra sec), sec, demi-sec and doux.
Sparkling white wines are generally made from Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir grapes. A Blanc de Blancs means it is entirely Chardonnay grapes. Most other sparkling white wines are a delicious blend of all 3 grapes.
Platinum – Sparkling
Two winners this year.
|Digby Fine English||Hampshire||White||Sparkling||NV||97||Platinum|
Gold – Still
3 still white wines won Gold awards in 2018.
|Redfold Vineyards||West Sussex||White||Sparkling||2010||95||Gold|
Gold – Sparkling
4 sparkling wines won Gold awards in 2018.
We did a tasting at Bluebell Vineyard and came home with some Late Disgorged Blanc de Blancs Brut.
|Ashling Park||West Sussex||White||Sparkling||NV||95||Gold|
|Bluebell Vineyard||East Sussex||White||Sparkling||2008||95||Gold|
These award winners are all sparkling Rosé wines based on Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes.
The Veuve Clicquot website has a food pairing app which recommends serving sparkling Rosé with tuna, smoked salmon, duck, cold cuts of meat or red fruits but not cheese.
Platinum – Sparkling
This is an outstanding wines as judged by Decanter. The Decanter 2018 tasting notes read “Lovely nose with peachy fruit and crunchy red berries. Elegant yet bursting with concentration this has superb purity from start to finish and rounds off with a persistent mineral note.’ It is also recommended by several UK wine experts including Matthew Jukes and Olly Smith.
It’s £29.99 and available directly from Camel Valley.
Gold – Sparkling
There were two Gold award winners from different Hampshire vineyards, both non vintage, and scoring 95 out of 100.
Exton Park Rosé Brut is 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Meunier grapes and “An ideal aperitif or ‘celebration’ drink, but also good with shellfish or light meats – as well as fine charcuterie like Lomo or Bresaola.” £29.95 + P&P on the Exton Park website.
Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé Brut is Chardonnay (90%) and Pinot Noir (10%) Available for £35.00 on the Hambledon website.
It’s more difficult to make a great red wine in the UK as we don’t have the ideal climate for it (more sun and warmth required to ripen the grapes and give a depth to the wine) so a silver medal is a significant achievement. There are 3 silver medal winners this year.
All 2018 English winners
I’ve put together a downloadable table showing all the award winners here.