When you try the wines please tell us what you think on Twitter using @HYOwineclub and #HYOwineclub, or on the PrincessAndThePinot Facebook Page - we would love to chat to you about the wines you've tasted based on our recommendations. Most of the wines will be available on the high street, but some come from independent stores or winemakers. You can try the wines in the comfort of your own home at your leisure, or you can come to our pop-up wine bars to try the wines, or we can help you to Host Your Own wine club. The flights of wine served at our pop-up wine bars will feature the wines recommended for HYO Wine Club.
English wine has come a long way from the tart flabby wines that we used to make, to the 120 awards won at the International Wine Challenge 2016. Now even Taittinger, the French Champagne house, has bought some land in Kent to invest in English Sparkling wine. But it’s not just the sparklers that are outstanding, there are some English still wines that are worth a try, and here are three of them. Be aware that “British” wine is different to “English” wine. English wines are made from grapes that are grown here and then the wine is made here, whereas British wines import the juice to make here.
Chapel Down Flint Dry 2016 12%
Chapel Down is a winery in Kent. They don’t reveal grape varieties on the bottle, meaning it will be a blend of several varieties, and the quantities will vary to continue making the same style of wine through varying vintages. This one is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Schönburger among others. Elderflower, mineral and smokiness, not dissimilar to a Pouilly Fume style. This wine gets its texture from extended lees contact (sitting on the dead yeast cells left over from the fermentation). Chapel Down also make amazing vodka and gin using grapes. And brandy. And Curious Brew beer. They run guided tours, with a restaurant on site, and you can also lease a vine for exclusive benefits. £11.99 Waitrose.
LDN Cru Baker Street Bacchus 2016 11.5%
This wine is grown in England and made in London. Vinifed from Bacchus grapes grown in Kent and Essex. Bacchus is England’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc because of its aromatics – known to have high sugars and low acidity, but our climate can cultivate a higher acidity in the grapes. Elderflower, stone fruits and cut grass with crisp acidity. Won Silver medal IWC 2017 and £15 Roberson – all LDN Cru currently 25% off. My favourite LDN Cru wine is the Charlotte Street Chardonnay (£20), but although the wine is made in London the grapes come from South of France, but worth a mention here! And soon they will be launching their English Chardonnay which I can't wait to try.
Litmus White Pinot 2015 12%
Litmus makes their wines at Denbies wine estate. Still wines produced in England, producing food orientated Northern European cool climate styles. They use a number of vineyard sites in Essex, Surrey and Sussex. Typically using old barriques and extended lees contact to create flavour complexity. Peach, honeysuckle and smoke. Full bodied, which is unusual in English wines. Grapes are carefully handled throughout the winemaking process. Fermented in oak barriques and remained on lees for 9mths. Possibly the first still white 100% Pinot Noir to be made in England. M&S £22. Another wine to note from Litmus is Element 20 (Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio) available from Waitrose £16.99.