Looking for the best English White Wines to try this spring? Here’s our top 5.
You may know England as a world-class producer of sparkling wines, yet there’s also a growing buzz around English white wines. The London Clay found in Essex’s Crouch Valley and the north of Kent can produce rich, textured, Burgundian-style Chardonnay. Woodchester Valley Vineyard’s 2021 Sauvignon Blanc won a Master Medal at last year’s Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters – making it one of the world’s highest-rated.
Alongside these examples from internationally-renowned grapes, there’s an amazingly diverse English white wine scene. Delicious examples are made from all sorts of lesser-known varieties. One of these in particular, Bacchus, has made England its home. No other English white wine variety delivers the aromas and flavours of the English countryside in quite the same way, with characteristic notes of elderflower and freshly mown meadow grass.
Yet many of the best English white wines are made in tiny quantities. Blink, and you’ll miss them. So we’ve tracked down five of the best English white wines to try this spring, all of which are available to buy right now.
1. Gutter & Stars Strange News From Another Star Bacchus 2021
Chris made just 800 bottles of this Blur-referencing 2021 Bacchus, and there’s no hint that it came from a cool vintage. “This is the hardest I’ve worked on a wine”, Chris told us.
If you love Bacchus, this was named ‘Bacchus of the Year’ by Tim Atkin and is amongst the best you will taste. If you haven’t quite made friends with Bacchus yet, this could well be the wine that will convert you.
Taste: The typical Bacchus perfume is toned down in favour of elegant grapefruit and guava aromas. In the mouth it’s rounded and far weightier than would be expected of a wine that’s just 11% ABV. The oak character is there in the background, but beautifully balanced, and lends the wine texture rather than strong flavours.
Buy: £22 Gutter & Stars
2. Knightor Winery Madeleine Angevine 2021
You’ll find Knightor Winery just inland from St. Austell on Cornwall’s south coast, where they make delicious white wines from England’s lesser-known varieties, as well as reds from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon! With a wine shop open for tastings every weekend, why not drop in to taste the range – or pick up a bottle this spring in anticipation of the glorious Cornish summer.
Taste: Offers a Vinho Verde-style spritz, which helps it to deliver incredibly fresh, vibrant, zingy flavours of quince, green apples and pears, with a touch of salted almonds.
Buy: £17 Knightor Winery
3. Freedom of the Press Paradox White Pinot Noir 2021
Wait a minute… isn’t Pinot Noir a red wine grape? Usually, yes – but all of the colour comes from the skins of the grape, so if you press carefully so as just to extract the juice, you can make a white wine instead, like this amazing example from Oxfordshire’s Freedom of the Press.
Taste: A very pale copper-hued white wine, with aromas of apple crumble, floral red fruits and a rounded, creamy mouth-feel. Match with roast pork belly with plenty of crackling, or a rich mushroom risotto.
4. Stopham Estate Pinot Blanc 2022
One of the first 2022s to be released this spring, Stopham’s Pinot Blanc is a wonderfully fresh, dry, vibrant-style English white wine, from one of England’s best still wine producers. Head winemaker Simon Woodhead used to design sensors at the McLaren F1 team, so you know that this has been made with precision and flair.
Taste: Fresh, dry and crisp, with aromas of ripe English pear, and hints of pink grapefruit, melon and sweet fennel herbs.
Buy: £15 Stopham Estate
5. Simpsons Gravel Castle Chardonnay 2021
Simpsons Estate planned to make still wines from the outset, and chose Burgundian clones of Chardonnay to plant in their well-sited, south-facing Kent vineyards. Gravel Castle is made purely from estate-grown fruit, and shows off all of that amazing chalky Kent terroir with its wonderfully Chablis-like flavour profile.
Taste: Fresh, zesty, citrus and mineral character over rounded, creamy texture – a Chablis-style Chardonnay perfect for enjoying with scallops or springtime asparagus.
Buy: £19 Simpsons Estate
And finally …
At the time of writing all our recommended English and Welsh white wines are available to buy, but many of the best wines are made only in tiny quantities, so be quick to avoid disappointment.
England is the world’s most exciting cool-climate wine region, yet 99% of the wine we drink is still imported. Show people that you’re part of the 1% leaning into local, sustainable and delicious English wines with a Marasby limited edition Join The 1% tote bag and discover more amazing wines with the Marasby Club.