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A first time out on its own for the UK, and the old girl didn’t disgrace herself. More medals than for Albariño, for instance…

The UK’s entries have always been a part of the Rest of Europe category. But this year our organisers felt more patriotic than usual. Maybe it was the decent slew of entries coupled with an encouraging performance last year; or maybe it was the royal summer of Wills ‘n’ Kate, Danny Boyle’s Olympic Brit-fest and Queen Jess’s track heroics. Either way, the UK’s winemakers got a chance to stand on their own two feet this year for the first time.

And they put in a decent performance. Just.

All the medals in 2012 were for 2009s and 2010s, which allowed the industry to make the most of the six days of sun that it gets allocated by the weather gods at 50 degrees north. There were clearly some decent wines also made in the cooler 2011 – but we can only pray that 2012’s offerings (which ought to be on show next year) don’t scupper this nascent category in 2014.

There are, as Winetec’s Tim Wildman MW pointed out, ‘two successful styles of white English wines: aromatic, gooseberry-flavoured, fresh styles similar to Sauvignon Blanc; and oaked styles like white Bordeaux’.

Neither of these is especially cheap. But then, with price rises across Europe, they no longer stand out as especially expensive either, and the Bacchus Reserve at sub-£8 was one of the cheaper Gold-listed whites we found this year.

‘It leant towards Sauvignon in style – fresh, aromatic and fruity,’ said Dabbous’s Charles Pashby-Taylor. ‘Somewhere between New Zealand and the Loire, and the mix of expressiveness and cool-climate restraint makes this an attractive English option that customers will expect, understand and enjoy.’

The only challenge would be in getting them to order it off the list. ‘Customers tend to be a little bit sceptical at the beginning, but they can be convinced,’ said proven Anglophile Luigi Buonanno of Etrusca Restaurants. ‘And if customers like it, they’ll be very happy to hear it came from down the road.’

Unless, of course, they ordered reds. On this evidence treat anything non-white or fizzy with extreme caution!

‘The English whites showed good consistency, with a nice “countryside” style of aromas.’
Xabier Alvarez, Trangallán

‘The reds lag behind the still whites, and the still whites lag behind the sparklings. It’s truly tricky to get the tannins and fruit ripe enough.’
Natasha Hughes, team leader.