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Article: Your Guide to Wines from England - This Month's Novel Wines Explorer's Club

Your Guide to Wines from England - This Month's Novel Wines Explorer's Club

Your Guide to Wines from England - This Month's Novel Wines Explorer's Club

Welcome to this month's Novel Wines Explorer's Club, the UK's most exciting wine subscription for the curious drinker. Each month, we will introduce you to a new wine region as part of our promise to deliver no two wines the same for a whole year. Not a member yet? Subscribe here.

Looking for an older guide? See all the Explorer's Club guides here.

What's in this month's Explorer's Club?

For your Explorer’s Club box for June we’ve chosen to celebrate English wine. June is when English Wine Week falls (this year from 17th to 25th) so it felt appropriate, not that we needed an excuse to round up some excellent wines for you from this rapidly improving region.

It also makes perfect sense that English Wine Week happens in a Summer month. The key white varieties of Seyval of Bacchus in the English climate produce refreshing, thirst quenching wines full of bright acidity and summer hedgerow notes like Elderflower. Highly appropriate for sipping with a picnic on the lawn whilst listening to Wimbledon.

Most of the wines in the box come from wineries on our doorstep in Somerset and the West-Country but the huge range of wines we can source locally is testament to the exciting potential of the young, upstart English wine scene. Unlike producers in Italy or France, there are no hard rules to follow meaning winemakers can experiment and find out what works where they are, try something new and just have fun.

Sparkling has dominated English wine due to the similarities of climate and soil between South East England and Champagne but still is increasingly important as the climate warms and acidy lowers. With freedom to experiment, producers are learning to use a wide range of unusual grapes in still wines that are likely to be added to Seyval and Bacchus as English signatures; Kernling and Divico are two that are featured in this box.


Its also good to remember that English wine is not one thing! A Chablis from one vineyard will taste different to one from its neighbouring vineyard, so why should a Bacchus from the limestone soils of Kent be the same as one produced hundreds of miles away on clay in Somerset? It’s probably too soon to talk of English appellations (although East Sussex have tried!) but there is certainly immense local character and its worth exploring wineries across the country.

We hope you enjoy this box and if you haven’t tried it before, discovering English wine. We’ve included a cracking sparkling and a delicious, deep red from a county you might not expect. If you have any specific questions about the wine, you can get in touch with our team here. However, as ever we've got lots of info on the wines below, so pull the cork lets go!


As we said earlier, it’s impossible to put together a case of English Wine and not include a sparkler! In this case we’ve chosen the Single Estate Cuvee from Pattingham Vineyards in Staffordshire. Maybe not the first place you’d think of for wine but Pattingham Vineyard have produced a delicious, light sparkling wine perfect for an aperitif. 50% of the blend is Seyval which brings the acidity and crisp citrus tones, while Pinot Noir makes up the other 50% and adds red apple, and a slight strawberry note. 24 months on lees gives character and body. Overall a fun and very drinkable example from our friends in the Black Country!


In the same way you can’t have an English wine case without Sparkling, we also had to include a varietal Bacchus. Originally a German grape it has found its home as one of main English white grapes. It ripens early meaning that it can take full advantage of sunlight hours and ripen fully in the cooler English climate. Woodchester, based in the Cotswolds and founded in 2007, produce an excellent example, full of the signature elderflower and lime notes alongside lychee and Pineapple. Unusually for the South West Woodchester sits on limestone deposits and these really boost the freshness.


From our most local producer; Aldwick Estate is based in the stunning Mendip Hills a short drive from Bristol. BS40 is actually the postcode of the Estate! This is an easy drinking blend of Seyval and Bacchus, light lemon in colour with a great balance of acidity. Elderflower and lemon is there on the palate but its subtle. A wine made for sipping on a sunny terrace, it doesn’t need food but pairing it with a light salad at lunch is a perfect way to enjoy it.


Oatley’s 2022 Leonora is another Somerset wine. Following the trend for experimentation it uses the unusual grape Kernling, a pink-skinned Rielsing cross with a lot of character. Its full of subtle English garden scents, rose and lime. Precise, linear but still with a noticeable fruit salad palate. A really interesting off-dry wine from a great, highly conscientious producer dedicated to preserving the natural appeal of the estate. As with Riesling, try with lightly spiced dishes.


Bride Valley’s Pinot Noir Rose is a classic of English wine. Pinot Noir thrives in the English climate and produces elegant roses. Based on Dorset’s south coast, Bride Valley was founded by English Wine legend Steven Spurrier with the aim of producing Burgundian quality wines in England and tin our opinion they’ve certainly succeeded. This was their first still rose vintage and is from the best of their Pinot grapes. It’s a great food rose, full of delicious red fruit but with an acidity that makes it well suited to food pairing. Try with Pork in creamy sauce or even a lightly seared duck breast where it will be a great foil to the gaminess.


For our final wine we return to Pattingham in Staffordshire for their Divico, a really unusual English red. Divico is a Swiss crossing that ripens early, produces small berries and is thick skinned. It’s naturally dark coloured skins make deep, fruity wines that are a contrast to the light reds that can sometimes put off red drinkers from trying English wines. Divico deserves its place at the forefront of English varieties and with a bit of oak treatment as Pattingham done here, it can produce complex, full bodied wines with cherry, plum, and cranberry notes alongside a spicy finish. Perfect with a fillet steak or a great burger.