In Part 2, Amelia and I explore that “special relationship” those two berks Tony Blair and George Bush kept banging on about, by having a look at English and American fizz options for Christmas. We’ve got the super fresh Exton Park Brut, and the sublime Domaine Carneros Classic Cuvée…enjoy!
What is it with me and horses? There’s a Peter Kay quote that says “you always feel slightly nervous when patting a horse”, well that’s me to a tee. But weirdly my time in the wine world has got me up close and personal with quite a few now, and my visit to Danebury Vineyards in Hampshire last week got me back on the saddle…as it were!
One of the most striking things about this Vineyard Olympics that I went to in the week was that it happened at all. The atmosphere between the vineyards was fantastic. I’m not going to be naive and say that everyone gets on like best buds all the time, that’d be pretty much impossible, but the fact that people gave up their days to show up and get together with great spirit shows a lot about what’s great with UK vineyards right now.
I get pretty lucky to get invited these days to some pretty cool events. Following my trip to Hambledon in Hampshire a few weeks back I was invited back to the county to check out the UK Vineyard Olympics. Well, I say UK, it was Hampshire vs Sussex. And I say Olympics, not sure cork bobbing made it to Rio. Their loss, eh?
Before I start about the tasting session we had, there are a couple of things that struck me about the winery and vineyard tours we started the day with. English sparkling wine can’t escape the link with the most famous sparkling wine region the world, Champagne. The (English and Welsh) wine press love to crow when our wines win out in trophies against their better known cousins. I was to learn that this “us versus them” attitude doesn’t exist in the winery.
I’ve been impressed over the past few months about how often English and Welsh wine are in the headlines. Sparkling wine from these shores are scooping up countless international taste awards, and are now being exported round the world. It’s a huge success story in a UK that doesn’t always seem to be moving in the right direction. But up until last week, I’d never been to visit one. How bad is that?