What is so exciting about English Wines?


Why am I backing English Wines?
The quality is not secondary to Champagne in my opinion and there are many reasons for this.  For example, the chalky soils, often associated with Champagne is found in parts of Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset. This soil type is  linked to the production of quality grapes of the traditional Champagne varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

I have included a link to an article below that outlines the predictions for the English wine market. The article is written by Jancis Robinson, a British wine critic, journalist and editor of wine literature (as well as providing advice for the wine cellar of the Queen!).

Highlights:

"Champagne sales are going to decline here, and English sparkling wine will eventually take half of champagne’s share.” - Ian Kellett (Owner of Hambledon Vineyard in Hampshire)

A growing industry: The total area of Britain under vine has doubled in the past seven years: there are now more than 5,000 acres of vineyard, farmed by 470 vine growers, with grapes vinified in 135 wineries.

The traditional method: Both Hambledon and Hattingley Valley have proved they can make excellent sparkling wine — using the same grapes and methods as in Champagne but with often crisper results in a distinctively English style.

Sparking Wine is a forte: Two-thirds of all English wine (British wine refers to much less delicious stuff made from imported grape concentrate), and all of England’s best wine is sparkling.

Investment from Champagne houses: The long-standing rumours of Champenois investment in English wine came to fruition at the end of last year when Taittinger announced a joint venture in Kent with its UK importers Hatch Mansfield.

One of the comments on the article states "Interesting times.  So far, I've been disappointed by English sparkling wines.  They're good, but twice as expensive as comparable quality wines. If you want amazing value in sparkling, the Spanish Cava wines can be really really good."
Our Opinion:
I'm not sure if Cava and English Sparkling Wines can be compared 'like for like'. The method of production is the same, and the same as Champagne (only producers in the Champagne region can use the term “Méthode Champenoise,” so in Spain and England, it is known as the “Método Tradicional” or Traditional Method respectively). However, the grape varieties differ, Cava uses mainly traditional, indigenous Spanish grapes; however there are some examples with French grape varieties, such as Chardonnay. English Sparkling Wines tend to use the basic, traditional blend of Champagne; Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. When comparing English Sparkling Wines to Champagne, for me, English wines are fantastic value. You can pick up a top quality English wine for around £30.00. This would be the same price that I would pay for an entry-level Champagne.

In addition to this, English sparkling wine recently enjoyed a record breaking year at the International Wine Challenge 2016 with 120 medals. And there are now many occasions where English Wines are beating Champagne in blind tastings.  Surprising, even to experts in the industry:

"In all my years writing about wine, I never would have believed that top French palates would take English sparkling wine for Champagne – it really is immensely exciting,"
- Matthew Jukes, the British wine expert and author
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/20/english-sparkling-wine-beats-champagne-in-paris-blind-tasting/