In this months Harpers, Stephen Skelton MW, who will be consulting in the new Royal vineyard in Windsor Great Park, has put together one of the most comprehensive English Wine Tastings in recent years with some interesting results. Stephen, with some of the UK's top wine journalists, blind tasted 52 English wines along with four champagnes, Pelorus NV from New Zealand and a Codorniu Cava.
Though all four champagnes made the top ten, the top two spaces were taken by the ever outstanding Ridgeview Estate with their 2007 Grosvenor Blanc de Blanc and the 2000 Grosvenor in magnum. Not bad for a wine that can often be found for less than £20. In fact, value for money was the word of the day. Four top ten wines came in at less than £20 a bottle.
The main disappointments from the tasting seemed to be the wines that were made from non-champagne varieties (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay). Only two made the top 27, the Davenport made from 100% Reichenteiner and the Breaky Bottom made from 100% Seyval Blanc.
The conclusion was not altogether surprising. Stephen Skelton concludes "The best producers - those using the right varieties and clones - making their wines with care, ageing them for an appropriate length of time, and putting them on the market with a dosage that both respects the wine and the sector of the market they are aiming at, can produce world-class wines in line with the opposition".