On & Around the Street

Expert English Wine Week Insights From Pavilion Wine

With English Wine Week 2018 celebrating English wine across the country from May 26 until June 3, it’s the perfect excuse to sample a glass or two of some local bubbles.  Tomasz Kuszneruk, the super-knowledgeable manager at Pavilion Wine, shares his top insights about English wine with us…

English sparkling wines at Pavilion Wines
English sparkling wines at Pavilion Wines

“There are lots of excellent English Sparkling wines, especially from the South Coast. The white cliffs in Dover are made of the same soil as in Champagne, created in the same geological period. The geology of the chalk sub-soil and the aspect of the south-facing slopes is almost identical

“Most English producers use the same grape varieties as in Champagne, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, and employ a traditional wine-making method that produces highest quality wines.

“What people should look at when buying English wine is the vintage: We all can see the warming effect in the climate, whatever the weather does in England, it’s always variable, especially in September, a crucial moment in the ripening season, especially if it’s too cold. So you should look out for years that were hotter.

“Some producers plant well known, international grape varieties like Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon but take a risk with cold weather. Others take it more cautiously and plant so-called ‘cool’ or ‘cold climate’ varieties. Very often they are ‘clones’, ‘cross-breeds’ or ‘hybrids’ designed for a cool climate like England, Germany and some Eastern European countries, but they’re still unknown to most people and, in my opinion, they are not capable of producing high-quality wines.

“These hybrids include varieties like Dornfelder (a cross of Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe), Dunkelfelder, Regent, Rondo, Bachus, Huxelrebe, Kerner, Madeleine Angevine and Optima.

“I believe that there is a big potential for English producers to make the much-loved dry rosé wines. Can you imagine watching Wimbledon with English strawberries and English Rose wine? I can.”

A glass of Ridgeview ‘Bloomsbury’ Brut from Sussex is £9.00 at Pavilion Wine.