English Grapes

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir, alongside Chardonnay, has become the dominant English grape crop in the UK. One of the “noble” grape varieties, it is used in English Sparkling Wine Classic Cuvées and English Blanc de Noirs, English Pinot Noir and English Rosé.

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Pinot Noir is a light bodied red wine loved for its red fruit aromas and long finish.  France is the predominant grower of Pinot Noir grapes with Burgundy being the most famous region for still wine and Champagne for sparkling wine.  The grapes do best in an intermediate climate with a long growing season so you will find superb Pinot Noir from the cooler mountain and coastal areas of USA, New Zealand and Chile as well as cooler climes such as Germany, Switzerland and of course more recently, England.

What is English Pinot Noir?

Pinot Noir is the second most popular grape grown in the UK, but only by a smidgen. 26% compared to 27% English Chardonnay. When you buy a bottle of Classic Method Blanc de Noirs English Sparkling Wine it will be made from red grape varieties Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or a blend of the two.  Blanc de Noirs literally means white wine from dark – ie a white wine made from black grapes.  If you are not sure about which grape is in your bottle, check the back label, although most that are 100% Pinot Noir will say so on the front.

There are also an increasing number of producers making still English Pinot Noir and quality has improved hugely in recent years.

Pinot Noir is grown throughout England and is often planted alongside Chardonnay grapes. Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and Essex are the most renown regions.

What Does English Pinot Noir Taste Like?

England is a cool climate region so the Pinot Noir we make here will have more typical European Pinot Noir flavours. Cherries and raspberries will shine through in the warmest years with more herbal and forest floor flavours in cooler years.   If the wine is aged in new oak, you will get hints of spice and vanilla with a silky mouth finish.  Some producers use the stems as well as the grapes to give the wine structure. This method allows the fruit flavours to really shine through without the oaky flavours. Aged Pinot Noir can develop a deliciously rich and gamey taste.

Classic Method English Blanc de Noirs from Pinot Noir grapes is as a rule fuller and richer flavoured than Blanc de Blancs which is made from English Chardonnay. Depending on how it is made and how long it is aged for the wine will range from expressive and fruity with hints of blossom and citrus for example Exton Park RB 28 from Hampshire to rich and complex with flavours of baked apple and pastry, such as Cubitt Blanc de Noirs 2013 from Denbies Estate in Surrey.

Why is everyone talking about English Pinot Noir?

Apart from the fact that at long last we have a really good choice of home-grown Pinot Noir to enjoy, research in 2022* suggests that by 2040 England will have warmer weather conditions that will expand the areas suitable for Pinot Noir grape growth for English Sparkling Wine and increase the viability of still Pinot Noir production. In other words, if you are not drinking English Pinot Noir now … you soon will be.

*University of East Anglia (UEA), the London School of Economics, Vinescapes Ltd and Weatherquest Ltd
English Pinot Noir Organic Pinot Noir

English Pinot Noir

Best Vintages

What are the best vintages for English Pinot Noir?

We have nothing like the history of classic wine producing regions such as Burgundy, where the story of every vintage is recorded through the generations. What we do have is the adventure of being here at the beginning of something new. You will be amongst the first to buy, store and taste English Pinot Noir and discover how it ages over 5, 10, 20 years.  There is a little more availability of back vintage English Blanc de Noirs available. Grab it while you can.

2022 was an early harvest with some vineyards picking as early as the last week of August: it promises great things.

2020 was nice and warm so you’ll get plenty of juicy English Pinot Noir from this year.

2018 is still considered the best vintage of the modern era. If you have a couple of bottles save one and try again in a few years.

2014 and 2015 vintage English Sparkling Wines are currently scoring highly and are 6-7 years in bottle so they have plenty of depth but are still super fresh.

English Pinot Noir

Food and Wine Pairings

Pinot Noir is great with lamb, duck and pheasant especially if you like your meat rare and delicious with chicken and monk fish. For Pinot Noir and vegetarian food pairings try mushroom based dishes, roasted vegetables and pulses.

For classic seasonal British Delicious try:

Spring: Monkfish tail wrapped in wafer thin bacon with watercress salad.

Summer: Rack of new season lamb with new potatoes and fresh garden summer vegetables.

Autumn: Pan-fried wild duck with sauteed mushrooms and pumpkin seeds.

Winter: Roasted squash with English Olive lentils and dried summer herbs. Roast chicken.