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An English sparkling wine has been named one of the best in the world at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards, as red, white and rose wines from the UK have bagged top awards for the first time.
While British wine was looked down upon by critics for decades, changing acidity levels of soil where grapes grow in the UK means homegrown wine now rivals that of France, Spain and Italy.
In total, 143 UK wines picked up gongs at the awards with one from Kent being awarded the ‘best in show’ with praised for its ‘citrus purity, a seaside freshness, and an unmistakable stoniness’.
Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2018 was given a a best in show accolade, while winemakers across Hampshire, Sussex and Kent also saw their wine pick up gold medals.
The £65 Chardonnay was noted as having ‘remarkable assurance and accomplishment’.
Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2018 was given a a best in show accolade, while winemakers across Hampshire, Sussex and Kent also saw their wine pick up gold medals
Ridgeview’s Rosé de Noirs 2018, which also cost £65, picked up a platinum medal (left), Hambledon Vineyard’s Premier Cuvée Brut NV (£55) picked up a gold medal (right)
Elsewhere, Ridgeview’s Rosé de Noirs 2018, which also cost £65, picked up a platinum medal.
The East Sussex winery uses Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes and was praised for its ‘full palate, full of flavour, an oaked rosé in sparkling form with resolved tannins’.
Hampshire wines also performed well, picking up five gold medals for Hambledon Vineyard’s Premier Cuvée Brut NV (£55), Candover Valley Wines’ Brook Brut NV (£33), and Raimes Classic Brut 2018 (£31).
Nethercote Hill Pinot Noir-Rondo, at £17 (left), picked up a silver award while Candover Valley Wines Candover Brook Brut (right), got a gold gong
Even the French prefer English sparkling wine!
Brits drink nearly three times as much Champagne than English sparkling wine due to outdated perceptions of being higher quality and making a better impression on others – but in a blind taste test, the French actually preferred wine grown on British shores.
Kent-based wine producer Chapel Down took its best-selling sparkling wine to the Champagne region of France, to conduct the taste test.
Under the playful guise of ‘Chapelle en Bas’, a literal brand translation of Chapel Down, the English wine producer invited French consumers to try its Brut alongside a best-selling branded Champagne. The verdict? 60 per cent of consumers preferred Chapel Down to Champagne.
Chapelle en Bas was praised by locals and tourists alike – describing the wine as ‘fresher’ and ‘crisper’ – but there were several shocked faces and raised eyebrows after revealing this mysterious cuvée hailed from England.
Chapel Down Chief Marketing Officer, Liam Newton, said: ‘The French know a thing or two about sparkling wine, with their centuries of winemaking heritage, so what better place than Champagne to sample our Chapel Down Brut? We are incredibly proud of the exceptional quality of our English sparkling wine, and it was great to have this affirmed by the French themselves.
Two wineries in Kent also picked up Gold Medals, including Chapel Down’s Kit’s Coty Coeur De Cuvée Extra Brut 2016 (£36) and Woodchurch Classic Brut 2017 (£33).
Of the UK’s 143 wins, seven were awarded to red wines – including Ridgeview’s Pinot Noir Reserve Brut at £57 and Nethercote Hill Pinot Noir-Rondo, at £17, which both picked up silver awards.
The master of wine Simon Field, regional chair for the UK at DWWA, said: ‘The increase in both volume and quality of the still wines submitted, their provenance as varied as their quality was consistent.
‘The quality of the sparklers, secondly, continues to impress as the category takes on maturity; as the wines and winemakers alike take on a little more age it becomes increasingly clear that the long-held faith in such things has most definitely not been informed by misguided patriotism.’
The Decanter Awards is now in its 20th year, and has become the most respected wine competition in the world
A total of 236 judges from 30 countries judged the awards, including 53 masters of wine and 16 sommeliers.
The success of English wine follows the International Wine Challenge, where an English White Trophy was awarded to Lyme Bay Winery for its Martin’s Lane Chardonnay 2020 And Devon’s Lympstone Manor Estate took home the English Red Trophy for its Triassic Pinot Noir 2020.
It’s the first time that still English wine has been recognised for both red and white.
Helen McGinn, one of the six Co-Chairs of the International Wine Challenge told FEMAIL: ‘England, particularly regions in the south, has been internationally recognised for the production of world class sparkling wines for some time now.
‘In recent years, England’s still wines have also come on leaps and bounds and it is great to see both reds and whites recognised with trophies in this year’s challenge.’
All the UK winners at the Decanter International Wine Awards
BEST IN SHOW
Gusbourne Blanc De Blancs 2018
Ridgeview Rosé De Noirs Brut
Gusbourne Guinevere Chardonnay
Candover Valley Wines Candover Brook Brut
Hambledon Vineyard Premier Cuvée Brut
Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Coeur De Cuvée Extra Brut
Woodchurch Classic Brut
Raimes Classic Brut
Kingwood Estate Classic Cuvee Brut
Wyfold Vineyard Brut
Wyfold Vineyard Rosé Brut
Busi Jacobsohn Wine Estate Cuvée Brut
Busi Jacobsohn Rosé
Bluestone Classic Cuvee
Bluestone Rosé Cuvée Brut
Roebuck Estates Classic Cuvée
Wiston Estate Rosé Brut
Wiston Estate Blanc De Blancs Brut
Bluebell Vineyard Estates Hindleap MV Classic Cuvee Brut
Harrow & Hope Brut Rosé
Harrow & Hope Brut Reserve No.7
Ovens Farm Vineyard Solaris
Vagabond Wines Dios Mío
Whitehall Vineyard Bella Rosa Rosé
Whitehall Vineyard Nethercote Hill Pinot Noir-Rondo
Balfour Winery Rosé Brut
Balfour Winery Leslie’s Reserve Brut
Louis Pommery Brut
The Squerryes Late Disgorged Brut
Camel Valley Vineyard Rosé Pinot Noir
Camel Valley Vineyard Rosé Pinot Noir Brut
Aldi Specially Selected Bowler & Brolly Winemaster’s Lot Classic Cuvee Brut
Chapel Down Grand Reserve
Chapel Down Rosé Brut Reserve
Ridgeview Pinot Noir Reserve Brut
Digby Leander Pink Brut
Greyfriars Blanc De Blancs Brut
Halfpenny Green Chardonnay
Harrow & Hope Blanc De Blancs Brut
Harrow & Hope Blanc De Noirs Brut
Bluebell Vineyard Hindleap Blanc De Blancs Brut
Bluebell Vineyard Hindleap Meunier Brut
High Clandon Estate Vineyard The Gloriana Cuvée Prestige Vintage Brut
Rathfinny Wine Estate Rosé Brut
The Grange Classic
Gusbourne Brut Reserve
Gusbourne English Rosé
Gusbourne Late Disgorged Brut Reserve
Gusbourne Blanc De Noirs Brut
Gusbourne Exclusive Release Brut
Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Bacchus
Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Chardonnay
Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Blanc De Blancs Brut
Chapel Down Reserve Brut
Oastbrook Estate Cuvée Brut
Hattingley Valley Wines Classic Reserve Brut
Hattingley Valley Wines Blanc De Blanc Brut
Lyme Bay Winery Pinot Noir
Simpsons’ Wine Estate White Cliffs Blanc De Blancs Brut
Simpsons’ Wine Estate Derringstone Pinot Meunier
Ridgeview Fitzrovia Rosé Brut
Ridgeview Oak Reserve Brut
Coates and Seely Blanc De Noirs La Perfide
Coates and Seely Reserve Brut
Oxney Organic Estate Blanc De Blancs Brut
Bolney Estate Pinot Gris
Langham Culver Classic Cuvée Extra Brut
Asda Asquith Gardens
Quoins Organic Vineyard Rosé
Woodchurch Rosé Brut
Woodchurch Chardonnay Brut
Roebuck Estates Rosé De Noirs Brut
Yotes Court Vineyard Livelovelaugh Pinot Gris Brut
Roebuck Estates Reserve
Hambledon Vineyard Classic Cuvée Brut
Mountfield Winery Blanc De Blancs Brut
Raimes Vintage Rosé Brut
White Castle Vineyard Regent
Wiston Estate Library Collection Blanc De Noirs Zero Dosage
Bluebell Vineyard Hindleap Rosé Brut
Camel Valley Vineyard Bacchus Dry
Rathfinny Wine Estate Classic Cuvée Brut
Whitehall Vineyard Charlotte May Rosé
The Grange Pink
The Grange White From Black
Bath Sparkling Wine Minerva
Ovens Farm Vineyard Bacchus
Vagabond Wines Pét Not Brut Nature
Ark Wines Chardonnay-Bacchus
Langham Blanc De Blancs Extra Brut
Deer Park Solaris
Deer Park Special Reserve
Hattingley Valley Wines Rosé Brut
Lyme Bay Winery Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir
Three Choirs Vineyards Bacchus
Three Choirs Vineyards Siegerrebe
Biddenden Vineyards Gribble Bridge Rosé Brut
Camel Valley Vineyard Atlantic Dry
Ambriel Reserve Demi-Sec
Greyfriars Cuvée Royale Brut
Greyfriars Classic Cuvée Brut
Ambriel Blanc De Blancs
Bride Valley Vineyard Blanc De Blancs Brut
Ambriel Classic Cuvee
Rathfinny Wine Estate Blanc De Blancs Brut
Rathfinny Wine Estate Blanc De Noirs Brut
Whitehall Vineyard Pinot Gris
Hush Heath Estate Balfour Gatehouse Pinot Noir
Hush Heath Estate Balfour 1503 Classic Cuvée Brut
Candover Valley Wines Candover Brook Rosé Brut
Deer Park Bacchus
Saffron Grange Classic Cuvée Brut
The Squerryes Brut
The Squerryes Rosé Brut
Camel Valley Vineyard Reserve Brut
Camel Valley Special Reserve Brut
Camel Valley Vineyard Classic Cuvée Brut
Camel Valley Vineyard Extra Dry
Camel Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir Brut
Camel Valley Vineyard Annie’s Anniversary Brut
Camel Valley Vineyard Chardonnay Brut
Chapel Down Brut
Libertine Rosé Brut
Ridgeview Cavendish Brut
Ashling Park Estate Ashling Park Blanc De Blancs
Langham Corallian Classic Cuvée Extra Brut
Nutbourne Vineyards Bacchus
Halfpenny Green Classic Cuveé Brut
Bolney Wine Estate Classic Cuvée Brut
Camel Valley Vineyard Special Reserve Brut
Chalkdown Reserve Cuvée
Chapel Down Rosé Brut
Ridgeview Blanc De Noirs Brut
Hush Heath Estate Lark Song by Balfour
Hush Heath Estate Balfour Chardonnay
Digby Reserve Brut
Woodchester Valley Orpheus Bacchus