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Exploring the Best of English Wines

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England may not have the same prestige as its immediate neighbour to the south when it comes to producing high quality wine, but the wine makers of England have been catching up in the last 30 years, and these shores now boast some of Europe’s best vineyards. Here are five of the best wine making facilities that have helped to put English win on the map.  

Ridgeview, Sussex 

Situated next to the South Downs in Sussex, the cool climate at this award-winning vineyard is ideally suited to producing sparkling wine, and Ridgeview has been at the forefront of the sparkling win renaissance in England. The chalk-clay mix of the soil in the area is ideal for the chardonnay and pinot noir varieties of grape used to produced sparkling wine, while the meteorological influence of the English Channel curbs the worst excesses of the English frost.  

Ridgeview was founded in 1995 and has made extraordinary progress. Production has now reached over 250,000 bottles and Ridgeview wines are served at the most prestigious locations, including 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace. The rise of Ridgeview to the top table of European wine was confirmed by their International Wine Maker of the Year award in 2018, and by their position as the only English vineyard to make the top 50 of last year’s World’s Best Vineyards Awards

Hush Heath, Kent 

Established in 2002, the rise of Hush Heath near Tonbridge in Kent, has been spectacular. One of the new breed of English vineyards, Hush Heath has been at the forefront of the resurgence of English win, winning numerous awards, most notably for their Balfour Wines, which have developed an impressive reputation. Balfour wines are famous for their clear taste and fresh finish, and the vineyard that produces them is known for its precision and attention to detail.  

Hush Heath wines are served in top quality restaurants and bars around the world, and their flagship product, the Balfour Brut Rose was named as the official English win of the 2012 London Olympics.  

Wiston Estate, Sussex 

Located in Sussex, the 6,000 acre Wiston Estate has been owned and run by the Goring family since 1743. The South Down’s chalky slopes and the flat clay soils of that region inspired the Romans with visions of vineyards, but it wasn’t until 2006 that the estate was first planted. 

Since then, Wiston haven’t looked back. Traditional varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are grown there in conditions that bear a remarkable resemblance to the geology of the Côte de Blancs in the Champagne region. And the absence of herbicide treatment, combined with traditional viniculture methods ensures a distinctive flavour. One of the rising stars of English win, Wiston’s notable recent achievements include winning a medal at the 2018 World Wine Awards for its Blanc de Blancs Brut 2011. 

Exton Park, Hampshire 

Exton Park Vineyard is another of the big guns of English wine, producing a series of award-winning vintages. The Exton Park vineyard is situated on the undulating chalk slopes of Hampshire’s South Downs National Park. At around 55 acres, it is one of the biggest vineyards in Hampshire, and the result of three separate plantings over many years.  

The climate and soil conditions at Exton perfectly replicate those that prevail in some of the world’s most famous sparkling wine regions, and they boast one of the most talented winery and vineyard teams in the country, turning the predominate varieties of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay into award-winning wines such as their Pinot Meunier Rose and their Blanc de Noir.  

Gusbourne, Kent 

A Gusbourne Estate in Appledore, Kent has a long history, dating back to 1410, but its winemaking credentials were established more recently, in 2004, when Andrew Weeber instituted the first vine plantings in 2004. His vision was to create high quality English sparkling wines that would compete with the best that the rest of the world had to offer. Within the space of six years, that vision became reality when the first vintage, the Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2006 and Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2006 were unveiled, to widespread acclaim from wine critics.  

A Gusbourne Estate in Appledore, Kent has a long history, dating back to 1410, but its winemaking credentials were established more recently, in 2004, when Andrew Weeber instituted the first vine plantings in 2004. His vision was to create high quality English sparkling wines that would compete with the best that the rest of the world had to offer. Within the space of six years, that vision became reality when the first vintage, the Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2006 and Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2006 were unveiled, to widespread acclaim from wine critics.  

Since then, Gusbourne has built an impressive reputation for outstanding sparkling wines, using a combination of tried and trusted tradition and cutting-edge technology, and their prominent position in the English wine industry was underlined with six gold medals at the 2019 WineGB Awards.  

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