Blighty Bubbly – is UK wine actually any good?

Posted by Dunc on Apr 10, 2009 in British Recipes, Carry On Britain Events, Food Shopping, Skincare


It’s all very well buying English veg, meat, bread etc. You have to look that bit harder, shop in more places, sometimes spend a bit more however ultimately the great tastes and sense of smugness from eating something that is fresh, local, supports the economy and tastes great is well worth it.

However for us to still sip that Sauvignon Blanc from the Malborough region of New Zealand, or Tuscan Chianti is a bit of a cop out for the Brit Bloggers. And, lets be honest, the booze is a large chunk of our pocket money….

Thus the English Wine and Cheese Evening was announced! ‘What a superb idea’ we all bullishly cheered in a famous five fashion (but secretly worried that this was going to be an evening in drinking nasty vinegary concoctions). Oh well, the stinking bishop will mask the taste.giant water slide

The big day arrived and I hadn’t bought any wine, safe in the knowledge that surely all the big supermarkets are selling Blighty Vino nowadays. But this is not so…a trip around M&S was fruitless as was Tesco. Even the trusty Co-op was focusing its efforts on the Chilean Red (so much for shop local).

So it had to be Waitrose. Brilliant that I had an excuse to legitimately shop there as my tight-fisted Yorkshire boyfriend forbids it normally.

Waitrose is where I found Chapel Down English wines.

The retailer only stocked 2 English wines and both were from Chapel Down which is a winery in Kent – the Garden Of England.

Check out their website www.englishwinesgroup.co.uk for more info on their products and their ethics.

So I bought a bottle of Chapel Down Brut and a Pinot Noir (er not very English sounding). At £16.99 the Brut is mid priced and tastes as good as any similar priced champagne. In fact it’s more than good – its really nice! The white was perhaps not light enough for my palate however (I’m not a big white wine drinker) and certainly no connoisseur.

It’s a shame that the UK cannot produce a red (for the time being my Rioja is safe) however Chapel Down offer a wide range, spanning white, rose and fizz, including a Taste of England Case of 12 bottles inc Brut for £101.00.

It was a definite eye opener and I’d buy the Brut again and would like to try to rose. We all agreed twas a huge success!

Oh, I forgot to mention that at the checkout I was asked for ID which, at the age of 31, was immensely flattering and a gargantuan ego boost. What’s more, in addition to the UK wines, its just another reason to keep visiting Waitrose…

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