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The Best British Wines for Christmas

2018 marked a fantastic year for British wines as the yield numbers were astronomical. Some are calling the vintage “historic” and it certainly marks a moment of joy for vintners across the British Isles.
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While many of those not in the know are off purchasing popular Pinot Noir or other French labels, true British wine enthusiasts are keen to buy local wines that offer more than a pretty label or recognizable name.

There is more to British wine than the common grapes that produce Malbec or Sauvignon, but the familiarity of these vines lead to their purchase over more regional options like Bacchus.

If you feel like you’ve not heard of British wines before, you might be correct. One of the rare positive impacts of global climate change has led to a climate that allows wine-friendly grapes to be grown in England and Wales. This has allowed an all-new segment of wines that have their own distinct, marketable flavor.

This Christmas, step outside the proverbial box and choose wines based on their origin rather than the price or décor. This guide will offer you the opportunity to spend the holidays chatting over glasses of the best British wines rather than imports from afar.

British Wines for Under £20

Bacchus Reserve 2018 – New Hall Vineyards – Essex - £11.75

The Bacchus grape hails from Germany and is considered a hybrid. It grows well in the UK and has become quite popular amongst vineyards and wineries.

New Hall Vineyards picks its Bacchus early in the season to keep the fresh flavors of lime intact and for just the right minerality. This white wine can stand up to anything your Christmas feast has to offer but will pair best with lighter fare.

Ortega Classic Ferment 2018 – Westwell Vineyards – Kent - £15

Westwell uses its nine acres of space wisely by featuring Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes. The Chardonnay Reserve is a fantastic wine but this Classic Ferment is impeccable. 

This vineyard focuses on quality control by only using grapes grown on the property. Westwell minimalizes its environmental impact by using little protective spray and protecting the surrounding ecology of the site.

This white is an ideal wine for the holiday table with a dry, peach forward taste.

Native Grace Chardonnay 2018 – Henners Vineyard – East Sussex - £15.50

Henners may be known for its sparkling selections but this Chardonnay stands up in a few popular fine dining establishments. It will not surprise you to notice some hints of apple and the stainless steel fermentation process removes some of the smoky oak flavors other Chardonnays have.

Pinot Gris 2017 – Stopham Estate – West Sussex - £17.99

Stopham describes this Pinot Gris as off-dry, making it perfect for your friends and holiday guests who might need something a little sweeter for their palates.

If you are roasting pork or featuring spicy dishes at your Christmas table, consider grabbing a bottle of this Pinot Gris for the perfect complement.

Rosé – Montgomery Vineyard – Wales - £17.99

I know what you’re thinking: “Rosé is for sitting by the water on a warm day, not for Christmas gatherings!” Well, it is time to break the mold.

This Rosé offers a beautiful combination of Montgomery’s Pinot Noir and Solaris. The strawberry and grapefruit essences would go well with a darker chocolate dessert perhaps.

Pinot Noir 2018 – Sharpham Wine and Cheese – South Devon - £18

This light, fruity, spiced Pinot Noir spent eight months in French Oak getting ready for your holiday party. You can feel confident breaking a bottle or two of this Pinot out for even your (wine)snobbiest friends.

British Wines for £20 - £30

 

Bacchus 2017 – Renegade London Wine – London - £20

The unique setting of this “urban winery” in London is not the only thing that should influence you into purchasing a bottle of their Bacchus. The wild floral notes and hints of citrus make a great pairing with lighter holiday dishes.

Balfour Springfield Chardonnay 2018 – Hush Heath Estate – Kent - £25

The Balfour brand may bring about images of award-winning sparkling wines but do not let that chase you off of their other grape varietals. The Chardonnay is a must with its hints of oak and green apple. The ripe 2018 flavors bring a freshness to any meal.

English Sparkling Brut – EH Booth & Co – East Sussex - £29

This sparkler is made by Ridgeview Estate and represents a grade mid-priced option for a very good sparkling wine. Perfect for the Christmas morning festivities ahead of any big meal plans, this light balances fruity with aromas of bread baking.

Rabbit Hole Pinot Noir 2018 – Simpsons Wine Estate – Kent - £29.50

The wine emanating from the Simpsons Estate is impressive, to say the least. This red from England can stand up to those from around the globe. It has all the standard nuances that give deeper reds their appeal – smoke, spice, and fruit.

If you are a white wine lover or have one on your guest list, this winery produces great Chardonnay, as well.

British Wines for £30 and Up

If you really want to impress your guests with some older wines, here are a couple with higher price points from earlier seasons.

Guinevere Chardonnay 2014 – Gusbourne – Kent - £32

The power behind this gutsy Chardonnay is definitely its nine-month resting time in French oak barrels. The wood comes through and keeps this wine balanced from start to finish. A buttery citrus flavor greets the palate and provides the perfect white capable of standing strong through the dinner hours.

The Trouble with Dream Brut 2014 – Sugrue – West Sussex - £39

Don’t get complacent when it comes to shopping English sparkling wines. The apple and citrus notes flowing through this bottle will remind you of some of the best champagnes you have ever had.

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