92

2018 Blackbook The Mix-Up, Redhill Farm Estate, Kent

( £17.50, 10.5%, Black Book Winery )

Sergio Verrillo is a brilliant American who works out of an urban winery in Battersea, London. His Chardonnay is England’s best interpretation of the grape and this quirky cuvée, or mix up, of Bacchus and Ortega isn’t far behind. Partially skin-fermented and aged in neutral oak, it’s an unfined, unfiltered, low-alcohol white with notes of nettle, elderflower and subtle vanilla spice, with stony minerality and a tangy, racy, Chablis-like finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-23Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, England, Bacchus, Ortega
93

NV Cottonworth Rosé, Hampshire

( £29.95, 12.5%, Rude Wines )

I get a small glow of pride reviewing this wine as I tasted it at a Three Wine Men event and told the Rude Wines team how good it was. I’m delighted to say they agreed with me and listed it. Cottonworth is not one of the best-known English bubbly producers, but it’s definitely a name to keep an eye on if this is typical of future releases. Balanced, elegant and refined, with small bubbles, notes of summer berries and candy floss, a creamy, textured, mid palate and a long, satisfying finish. Great as an aperitif or with a bowl of strawberries.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-23Similar Wines: £20-£30, 90-94, England, Sparkling, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir

Eccentric Current

by Matt Walls
English sparkling wine producers collectively present a terribly well-to-do appearance, all smart chinos and glasses of fizz on the lawn. But Pythonesque tendrils are creeping through the cracks in the...

English wine and the Union Flag

by Tim Atkin
What does the Union Jack symbolise to you? Pride? Shame? Sovereignty? Populism? Peace? Colonialism? All are possible responses and have been almost since the flag was designed in 1800 to...

Capital ventures

by Matt Walls
When London’s first urban winery opened in 2013, I was cynical. But London Cru is still going strong, having since won multiple awards for its wines and gained listings in...

How the other half drinks

by Matt Walls
Is there a quicker way to get to know someone than by flicking through their music collection or browsing their bookshelves? Both feel like a little glimpse into their soul....

The Gold Standard

by Matt Walls
On the first day of the Hunter Valley Wine Show, Major Al Lynch, in full military fatigues, explained to the wine judges what was expected of them: “if you are...
95

2010 Nyetimber Tillington Single Vineyard, Kent

( £60-80, 12% )

An ambitious – and ambitiously priced – single vineyard blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the producer that continues to lead the English sparkling wine revolution. The bubbles are particularly fine here, the low dosage beautifully judged, the acidity refreshing and citrus-edged, while the bready, leesy, autolysis-influenced flavours linger tantalisingly on the tongue. Classy stuff. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-20Similar Wines: £50-£100, 91-95, England, Sparkling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

Bitter believe it

by Matt Walls
In the UK we can be a bit prejudiced against flavoured wines and spirits. It’s not hard to see why if you look at the current proliferation of ‘aromatised wine-based...
90

NV Hambledon, Classic Cuvée, Hampshire

( £28.50, 12% )

Sourced from England’s oldest commercial vineyard (we are talking 1952), this blend of the Champagne grapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, is delicious, a fizz that manages to taste English while showing the complexity and nuances of a top Champagne. It’s chalky and dry, with subtle bubbles, hints of fresh pastry and citrus and a tapering finish: elegant, refined and understated. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-20Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, England, Sparkling, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay