7 English Wine Facts
Château Walthamstow? Come on, it has a ring, no? Here's some trivia to soak up and impress your bezzies with.
Thanks to Muddy Hants editor Mary for digging deep on the fact-finding front!
1/ Priorities please, first let’s raise a glass of English Sparkling Wine to Brit scientist* Christopher Merret, who put the fizz into flat old wine way back in 1662.
2/ The Romans — those suave, sophisticates — loved quaffing a glass or two of Sancerre, feet-up watching some Gladiatorial blood-fest. Brutal true, but they did drag us ale-swilling Celts kicking and screaming into the first century by planting vines right up to Lincolnshire.
3/ Drink local my friends, drink local. Us booze-loving Brits slurp around 816 million bottles of wine annually, only 1% of that is English or Welsh wine, thanks for that titbit Danbury Wines. But times they are a changin’…
4/ English Sparkling Wine is the new Champagne, it’s official: get this from voice of yoof Vice. Not convinced? Well, sorry but the experts are. You only have to look as far as Devon favourites Sharpham Wines and see a list as long as your arm of awards for their fizz to get the point. Plus, English wines are now exported to Paris — a hard city to crack, as anyone who’s ever visited with pidgin French will know.
5/ And talking of champers, did you know that Southern England’s soil — is it pretentious if I say terroir? Just love the semantics of that word — is similar to the Champagne region, especially now we actually have a summer. Get digging, because the same chalk seam runs from Northern France across the Channel to the Home Counties.
6/ Devon is a hot bed of all things English Wine. And if you needed cold, dry and zesty proof, head along to Le Vignoble Wine Lounge, for a tasty education. In celebration of English Wine Week, owner Yannick Loue is hosting their hugely popular annual ‘meet the winemaker’ event, with a selection of the country’s best producers in the house, hoping to broaden your tastebuds. Polishing my wine glass right now.
7/ To end, a random yet true fact. London’s East End wasn’t always hipsters, high rises and baggy-trousered Nineties boybands. Yup way back circa 1660, a certain Lady Batten grew grapes on her country estate in erm, Walthamstow producing a “very good” red wine according to Pepys. Puts the term Grand
Crew Cru in a totally different light, and Château Walthamstow? Come on, it has a ring.
*OK history pedants, I know this is decades before The Union but saying ‘English’ twice in a sentence sounds shoddy, a’right.
Meet the Winemaker at Le Vignoble on Thurs 1 June. Tickets £30 with £10 back on a wine card. levignoble.co.uk