When you see British wine on supermarket shelves it isn’t English Wine. British wine can be made from grapes grown elsewhere, so long as the juice is fermented and bottled in the UK. Many of the grapes used for the making of ‘British’ wine come from Romania and Bulgaria. So for no fault of your own, you could not be buying a truly British product or supporting ‘buy local’
Another frustrating word used is the C-word, not that one… this time but Champagne. You may know that even though it’s made in exactly way, with the same grapes, the PDO laws say we can’t call it champagne.
Hallelujah to that we say!
English Sparkling wine is becoming a global superstar in its own right
As global warming is turning our summers hotter, our grapes are becoming riper but still maintaining the balance of acidity related to sparkling wines. Rumour has it, some areas in France are becoming too hot and England is now having growing conditions to those in Champagne 60 years ago. This is now giving us the edge.
England now has amazing and skilful winemakers like our very own Dermot Surgue, now couple that with our increasing knowledge in choosing the right spots to plant, just like the Ashling Park’s sun trap and ‘voila’ (sorry, couldn’t resist it) we have the perfect formula for producing award-winning English Sparkling wine.
With vineyards stretching across the South of England, the South East seems to be the champion in this wine movement, taking 44% of all medals and 50% of the golds at this year’s Wine GB awards, where 281 wines were submitted. Every one of the wines entered were painstakingly assessed by the wine royalty judges: Oz Clarke OBE, Susie Barrie MW and Rebecca Palmer.
In fact, Ashling Park won 3 trophies declaring us top of the pops, as we swept the board winning Best Classic Cuvée NV, Best Sparkling Rosé and Best regional Wine in the South East. An outstanding achievement to be voted the best wines produced on British soil, we were truly Gobsmacked.
What’s our secret? It truly is a team effort. Our winemaker, the talented Dermot Sugrue once said if we bring him good clean grapes, he’d make us world-class wines and that’s exactly what he did. This was made possible by our dedicated and skilful vineyard team who work tirelessly through wind, rain, hail, beating sun and even a global pandemic! The next part of the recipe is to not rush releasing the wines, the longer left on the lees the better the wine, our Cuvée has six years on the lees which is the longest English wine on the market.
Now being poured in top hotels and restaurants, the future is bright for us at Ashling Park, we have a lot to look forward to in 2021 when will be welcoming visitors with the creation of a new style vineyard with tours, tastings and five luxurious lodges – all designed and built by Will Hardie of TV’s amazing spaces. Exciting times ahead!