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Winner Details

England

2018 Gold 4       Silver 3                Bronze 3             Commended 9
2017 Gold 3       Silver 4                Bronze 3             Commended 7

One of the great things about the Sommelier Wine Awards is the way in which it can provide us with a snapshot of the wine industry – and it absolutely did that here. Our medal winners were an A to Z of the grape varieties being grown for still wines in the UK, and our tasters’ feedback told us all that is good and bad about it.

On the plus side, there were some thoroughly decent wines here – four Golds was the country’s best performance yet – and it was truly heartening to see medal winners across the whole of the South, from East Anglia to Devon. So clearly there is potential.

The downside is that, unlike with sparkling wines, for instance, which are well established and well made year after year, the challenges of uber-cool-climate grape-growing and winemaking sometimes prove too much for our producers. A lot of wines were thrown out to reach these medal winners.

As for pricing, the whites were generally OK, but our tasters grumbled about the cost of the reds. So, promising, but still a work in progress.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

'Very exciting to see an increasing number of wines coming from England and Wales, it’s a very healthy sign for the industry.' Melody Wong, Ten Trinity Square Private Club

‘The English need to look at their winemaking techniques. They need a broad palate of skills to iron out the big differences between the vintages, and they don’t seem to have the experience yet.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘They really struggled to keep the acidity in balance overall, confirming my opinion that the English should stick to sparkling wine except in warm vintages.’ Euan McColm, Beaverbrook

‘I didn’t find many interesting wines, it was challenging trying to give a medal, and difficult to find value for money.’ Giuseppe Longobardi, The Cross Kenilworth and Simpsons Edgbaston

Award winners

Found 19 wines

England

Lyme Bay, Pinot Noir 2016, Devon, England

Gold medal winner

This Gold medal-winning English Pinot was one to ‘drink chilled’ said team leader Tom Forrest, who had ample praise for its ‘floral perfume, bramble hedgerow fruits, and soft, spicy oak, with a cherry liqueur finish’. For James Fryer of Woodhead 17 it had ‘dark plum and meaty aromas’ and ‘fresh plum juice on a palate that’s super-fresh and zippy’, while Geoffray Bénat of Cépage[s] Wine Bistro found it ‘delicate and well balanced, with raspberry, blackberry and mint, and an earthier note on the finish’. ‘Match with meaty monkfish,’ concluded Forrest.

£12.52 Christopher Piper Wines

RW Buckingham & Son, Double Hedges, Solaris 2015, Bedfordshire, England

Gold medal winner Food Match

‘Gooseberry and wool aromas,’ began Ten Trinity Square Private Club’s Melody Wong as this English white was led to the Gold podium, going on to describe ‘candied lemon, cut grass and a bit of earthiness on the palate’. Hakkasan Hanway Place’s Jose Luis Hernandez liked its ‘ripe yellow fruit, like quince’, while The Mount Vineyard’s Andrea Carozzo praised it for its ‘delicate nose and fresh acidity, with good balance – and good value, too’.

£7.58 R.W. Buckingham & Son

Sharpham, Dart Valley Reserve 2016, South West England, England

Gold medal winner

For Eva Krenkova of Restaurant Sat Bains, this worthy Gold Lister was ‘grassy and herbaceous, with a slight spritz on the tongue’, and she found it ‘well balanced, with some good weight on the palate’. Team leader Tom Forrest, meanwhile, liked its ‘fresh, green and mineral notes, with some lemon, too’. With its ‘tropical fruit and nice acidity’, Crafthouse’s Andrea Rossi thought it to be a fine match for fish and chips.

£7.36 Boutinot, Sharpham Wines, Christopher Piper Wines

Toppesfield Vineyard, Reserve, Bacchus 2016, East Anglia, England

Gold medal winner

On encountering this worthy Gold winner, Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia thought it was defined by its elegance, describing ‘elderflower notes with light nuances of gooseberry and greengage’. Meanwhile Cheese at Leadenhall’s Robert Mason described it as ‘savoury on the nose, with some ripe lychee, peach and jasmine aromas, leading to a weighty body, with ripe fruit and fresh acidity’, adding that it would be an ideal match for risotto.

£8.00 Toppesfield Vineyard

Litmus, Element 20 2013, England, England

Silver medal winner

‘Precise and well made,’ thought Davide Dall’Amico of Royal Automobile Club, who described a wine that was ‘mineral, with gooseberry and asparagus notes, and with a long finish’. Eva Krenkova of Restaurant Sat Bains appreciated its ‘structured palate and notes of lemon zest and white flowers’.

£17.54 Bibendum

Lovells Vineyard, Elgar, Madeleine Angevine 2016, Worcestershire, England

Silver medal winner

This ‘tropical and herbaceous’ wine had ‘intense fruit like lime and grapefruit, along with some mineral notes’, according to team leader Laura Rhys MS. Melody Wong of Ten Trinity Square Private Club, meanwhile, liked its ‘fresh acidity and perfume, with some orange blossom notes’.

£7.25 Lovells Vineyard

Trotton Estate Vineyards, Brilliant Bacchus with a Dash of Pinot Gris 2016, South East England, England

Silver medal winner

Team leader Tom Forrest found an appealing combination of ‘grassy aromas, and some pear and apple, too, leading to rhubarb, nettle and fresh lemon and lime on the palate’. ‘Fresh, perfumed and spicy,’ summarised Eva Krenkova of Restaurant Sat Bains.

£8.45 The Exceptional English Wine Company

Three Choirs, Coleridge Hill 2016, Gloucestershire, England

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Tom Forrest enjoyed this white blend’s ‘clean, green mineral aromas and mineral freshness on the palate, with some herbal, grass and nettle notes’. ‘Elegant in its simplicity, with green apple and lemon. Good value!’ thought Beaverbrook’s Euan McColm.

£5.78 Laytons, Three Choirs Vineyards Ltd

Westwell, Classic Ferment, Ortega 2016, Kent, England

Bronze medal winner

‘Grapefruit pith and lemon sherbet’ summed up the fresh aroma of this wine for team leader Angela Reddin, who found ‘a slight petillance, with nice balance of acidity’. Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse described ‘dandelion and buttercup’ notes, and recommended this be paired with scallops.

£7.30 Westwell Wine Estates

Danebury, Schönburger 2016, Hampshire, England

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Angela Reddin found this English white to have ‘a light nose of crab apple jelly and hawthorn flowers’, while Janusz Pawel Sasiadek of Bottles & Battles described it as having ‘white fruit aromas joined by asparagus and tomato leaves’.

£7.00 Danebury Vineyards, Wine Utopia

Stopham Estate, Pinot Gris 2015, West Sussex, England

Commended medal winner

£13.78 Liberty Wines

Camel Valley, Bacchus Dry 2016, Cornwall, England

Commended medal winner

Poulton Hill, Bacchus 2016, Gloucestershire, England

Commended medal winner

New Hall, Bacchus 2016, Essex, England

Commended medal winner

Three Choirs, Siegerrebe 2016, Gloucestershire, England

Commended medal winner

Litmus, White Pinot Noir 2015, England, England

Commended medal winner

£22.71 Bibendum

Lyme Bay, Bacchus Block 2017, Devon, England

Commended medal winner

Sharpham, Pinot Noir 2016, South West England, England

Commended medal winner

£10.37 Sharpham Wines

Woodchester Valley, Bacchus 2016, Gloucestershire, England

Commended medal winner

 

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