Berry Brothers and Rudd are the oldest wine merchant in the UK. Based out of St James’s in London’s trendy Mayfair area, this is where they’ve been operating in one guise or another since 1698. When I was coming through in the banking world all those years ago, all the senior lads and lasses had Berry Brothers accounts. It’s almost a right of passage for fine wine buyers in London and the wider UK. Last week I made my first purchase from there, and it was pretty bloody impressive.
The UK’s love affair with Prosecco is well known. Less well known is that Prosecco’s production method is very different to some of the other famous bubbles around the world, including Champagne, Cava, and the world class bubbles being made in the UK. That is until now, as a Norfolk based wine producer, Flint Vineyard, has released a Prosecco-style english fizz, and I can’t wait to give it a try.
Onto February in my top wine memories of 2017, and a British belter for you all from Hampshire. Get stuck into UK bubbles everyone!!
FEBRUARY: Exton Park Brut NV, Hampshire
“February brought a Hampshire Vines tasting at 67 Pall Mall’s downstairs bar, you know, the one they allow the riffraff into.
I’m so pleased to see how well these wineries and vineyards work together, it’s a real lesson for other counties in the UK, and a reason that wine from Hampshire is here to stay. Personal favourites include Exton Park, Cottonworth, and Danebury, but they’ve all got some game!”
I had a great day out of the Big Smoke, last week, down to Kent, to go freeze my nuts off and do some digging in the dirt. Doesn’t sound all that appealing does it? Well how about if I clarify it a bit, as we were planting vines for the first Champagne Grand Marque to officially land on our shores. Domaine Evremond, a new venture for Champagne Taittinger, is now the proud owner of row after (slightly wonky) row of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, as the quest for increasingly swanky and gorgeous English bubbles hots up.
I couldn’t possibly go through the whole of Sauvignon Blanc Day with talking about a trip I recently made out to Greyfriars vineyard in the English county of Surrey. Sauvignon Blanc, thus far, hasn’t exactly been a mainstay of the emerging English Wine scene, with Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier ruling the roost. But owners Mike and Hilary Wagstaff have decided to have a go at something a bit funky.
It’s a bit of a funny time to be British. On the international scene we’re being treated a bit like Uncle Knobhead, you know the one that turns up to all the family gatherings, but everyone’s always a bit tentative about how they’ll act and what they’ll say to upset everyone this time. So we have to look inside the country to come up with something to smile about, and luckily for us wine-o’s, the UK Wine scene has just the cure!
The Commotion Potion is back in the headlines in the UK. Buckfast Tonic Wine has garnered the nickname “commotion potion” due to the fact it has been directly linked to 6,500 antisocial behavious and violence offences in the UK in the past 2 years. That’s a bucket load! It now turns out that the monks in Devon that are responsible for making this mixture of alcohol and caffeine don’t pay any taxes on their income from it as they’re a registered charity. Well that’s got quite a few knickers in a twist!
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!
I’m right in the middle of getting my arse round as many UK wineries as I can. I really didn’t know that many to begin with. Most wine-o’s have heard now of guys like Nyetimber, Gusbourne, and Chapel Down, but the list just goes on and on. So when I came across something on the net about Langham Winery in Dorset opening a new tasting room, the ol’ lightbulb in my head popped on and a couple of weeks later I was in the car with the wife, dog, and the tent!