Home Winners > Winners 2014 > England

Winner Details


2014: Gold 1 Silver 1 Bronze 0 Commended 2
2013: Gold 1 Silver 2 Bronze 1 Commended N/A
Must-list status: 20%
Overall SWA performance 2014: D

Sommeliers often complain about the price of English wine, but this year’s Sommelier Wine Awards experience perhaps shows why the wines are more often up around the £10 than the £6 mark. Entries were down, there were half the number of medals compared with last year and feedback from the tasters was depressing. It wasn’t that they were angry about the wines, more that they almost pitied them, which in a way is worse.

The problem was the 2012 vintage. An almost total washout, what came in was, for the most part, not something that you’d drink for pleasure, and a good many wineries didn’t bother making anything at all. That’s bound to have an impact on your bottom line.

None of the 2012s that came in here picked up even a Commended, and it was left to 2011 to fly the somewhat bedraggled Union flag. The problem is that that wasn’t exactly a stunningly sunny year either, and what little fruit most of the wines had to start with had largely subsided by the time the wines landed at the SWA tasting two and a half years after the fruit was picked.

English white are many things, but ageable is not one of them… and in most of this year’s entries the acidity was way out of balance with the body. It gave our tasters the kind of expression normally seen by two-year-olds trying to eat a slice of lemon for the first time. As for the reds, we should just draw a veil over them to protect those of a nervous disposition.

And yet, the Sharpham Dart Valley Reserve showed what is possible in the UK, even in non-ideal years. Superbly well-priced, its effortlessly light and beautiful blend of rot-resistant British grapes picked up a By The Glass award as well as a Gold.

So what if Madeleine Angevine, Phoenix and Bacchus sound like the roll-call at a Kensington nursery? Their success here proved that it needn’t all be about Class-A European varieties.

From the Tasting Teams

‘I was pleasantly surprised by [the Dart Valley Reserve]. There’s great versatility here and it would work in a range of venues, from gastropubs to high-end.’
Stefano Marro, Caravaggio Restaurant