Once considered a novelty, now a serious contender, English wine has grown from apprentice to master and award winner over the past twenty years and certainly deserves some fuss.
Still relatively young in reputation, English wine is being widely recognised for its distinctive flavour and quality, and why not, the UK’s climate is well-suited to certain grape varieties like the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Bacchus, the beautifully fragrant, English equivalent to Sauvignon Blanc.
Our cooler temperatures and wetter months assist slow ripening for a lighter, fresh finish and crisp acidity, whilst our chalky limestone soil makes for a fantastic sparkling - the most popular choice by far - our chalky cliffs sit just 150 miles from France’s Champagne regions after all.
The UK’s vineyards, the main wine-producing counties being Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Dorset, and Hampshire, have quadrupled in size over the past 23 years. During this time English wines have gained great attention, notably at the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA), scooping up awards across the board.
Markedly, it was also the fifth consecutive year that a UK sparkling has been featured in the Best in Show category. Produced using the same traditional methods as Champagne, UK sparkling wines are now standing out as some of the best in the world.
Our cellar holds more than 2000 bottles of wine, with our UK offering growing in popularity every year. Currently we are showcasing a wide selection of English sparkling wines on our menu, from Nyetimber’s NV Brut and Ancre Hill’s 2010 Blanc de Blancs, to Hattingley Valley’s 2011 ‘Kings Cuvée’ and Wiston Estate’s Brut.
Currently our list also hosts some fine UK stills; whites from Chapel Down and Danebury Vineyards, and a red from Winbirri Vineyards, and our Head Sommelier is always on hand to help guests at The Terrace with a wine pairing to complement the A La Carte or Tasting Menu, a wonderful opportunity to sample a selection of English wine’s and see what the fuss is all about for yourself.
For those looking to visit our New Forest hotel for an Afternoon Tea, we have created the Hattingley Valley Reserve Afternoon Tea, a truly English pastime paired with an outstanding English sparkling.
The yearly awards list and growing vineyards should be proof enough, but if they aren’t it might be interesting to know that one of the most well-known French Champagne producers, Taittinger, were the first to create a vineyard in the UK, planting ‘30 hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier’ in 2017 and are now eagerly anticipating the first release in 2024. So, our chalky soil must be doing something right!
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