A fine English wine used to be an oxymoron but no more. Last October, following the inspiration of Eric Asimov, the compelling NY Times wine critic, I traveled to the UK to see what Eric was extolling. I came back with superb examples of the wines that are causing all the excitement. And as recently as June 25, a Decanter Magazine panel called English sparkling wines ‘a world class product.’ A small group of wine lovers joined me as I shared these gems during dinner at one of our favorite restaurant destinations: Bin 100. The wines had a retail value well over $500.
Here are some of the comments gleaned from some of the participants:
- “Great wines- very impressive- they can easily be confused with French Champagne.”
- “English wines are very ‘French-like’ “
- “very positive impression- a great pinot noir”
- “didn’t know England even produced wines”
- “Thank you again for a wonderful evening. The food was delicious, the company great and the wines as usual were spectacular. I do hope Queen Elizabeth and her family know what wonderful wines are produced in her country. The sparking wines were my favorite.
- “I thank you again for all of your hard work selecting wines from another country and schlepping them back to the United States to share with others. You have touched a lot of people with your knowledge and generosity. I cannot wait for Austria……..”
Here are my comments on the wines we tasted:
- Biddenden Kent Cider – very dry, well balanced and fruity
- Charles Palmer Brut ’09– a $60 bottle that had all the dimensions of a French champagne; but who would pay $60 except me?
- Chapel Down Pinot Blanc Reserve ’08 – a delicious fruity bubbly
- Nyetimber Blanc de Blanc ’07 – fruity and delicious; started by an American couple, the first to show what England can do
- Ridgeview Bloomsbury ’11 – my personal favorite with toasty, well-balanced aromas and taste
- Ridgeview Grosvenor ’10 – Ridgeview in my humble opinion produces the best sparklers in England
- Chapel Down Rosé Brut nv – many people selected this as their favorite and why not? unctuous, berry fruit
- Balfour Brut Rosé – a bit too tart, didn’t show well coming after the great Chapel Down Rosé
- Nutbourne Sussex Reserve nv – a pedestrian yet drinkable still white wine
- Denbies Litmus Element 20 ’11 – a superb blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Bacchus
- Bolney Pinot Noir ’13 – as good as any PN from Oregon; Bolney wines are now being served on British Air first class flights
Photo highlights from our English Wine Event at Bin 100:
More from Wine Lovers on English Wines: