Until very recently the mere mention of English wine resulted in barely muffled sniggers. Maybe just about good enough for cooking. But then, a couple of decades back people were equally dubious about Australian wines and earlier this week I found it impossible to find someone to come along to a Chinese wine tasting (they were excellent, by the way). So it is that English wines now really are a thing, they’ve overcome the naysayers and brands like Nyetimer rival the big Champagne houses on price and quality. English Wine Week is an opportunity to celebrate this, and here’s some places you might like to try over the week to properly experience English (and very occasionally Welsh) wine.
OXO Tower Restaurant is blisteringly impressive at the best of times, but their British-themed tasting menu really does go above and beyond (I’ve eaten it and it was truly excellent!). The courses keep coming, expertly designed by Executive Head Chef Jeremy Bloor, and perfectly matched to six outstanding English wines by Diego Muntoni, the Head Sommelier. I genuinely can’t recommend it enough!
Available from Sunday 27th May
Definitely not water In Waterloo
Chaple Down have teamed up with Florentine in Waterloo to create a three-course menu paired with this Kentish wine producer’s wines. So enjoy some Chaple Down Bacchus Reserve white with a mackerel fillet, oranges, cherry tomatoes and sorrel served, followed by organic salmon, English asparagus and lemon tahini yoghurt which has been paired with a Chaple Down Pinot Noir and a pudding of rhubarb crumble with Chapel Down Brut.
Available until Sunday 3rd June
Spot the difference
Roast celebrate that quintessentially English meal, the roast dinner. But when it comes to best of British, they also deserve a nod for the fact that 26% of the white wine they serve comes from England too. And in celebration of English Wine Week they will be racing their English wines against European rivals to find out which really does taste better. On Tuesday and Wednesday guests will be invited to team up and will be treated to a series of small plates, each paired with an English and a foreign wine. Fun and tasty but also underlining the point that English wine is very much up to competition from both Europe and the New World.
Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th May
Have a fling in Tring
Venture out of your usual TFL zones with a trip to Tring and Crockers Chef’s Table. The restaurant has teamed up with English wine producer Gusbourne Wine for a special English Wine Week menu accompanied by Gusbourne’s unique selection of sparkling rosé, brut reserve and their fantastic chardonnay.
Throughout English Wine Week
Business as Ormer-al
Ormer Mayfair is gearing up for English Wine Week in style with a showcase of the best of home grown talent from their extensive wine cellar. Each of the wines will be paired with a course at Shaun Rankin’s Michelin starred restaurant at Flemings Mayfair hotel. The wines, from Ridgeview, Gusbourne, Albourne and Denbies Estates will be served with delicacies inclidng Yellowtail ceviche with tomato jelly and avocado; lamb fillet with black olive caramel and polenta; and sea bream with fried oyster, cucumber spaghetti and Champagne velouté.
Saturday 26th May to Sunday 3rd June
Angler, the city’s beautiful Michelin-starred seafood restaurant has paired up with Nyetimber for an exclusive paired wine dinner on Thursday. Along with five of Nyetimber’s finest sparkling wines, Executive Chef Garry Foulkes will be serving up a selection of seafood including Cornish turbot served with Japanese mushrooms, line caught squid, bonito dashi and paired with MV Nyetimber Demi Sec, and his courgette blossom which is served with Dorset crab, white tea, lemon verbena and paired with Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2010. It’s enough to get you hooked.
Thursday 31st May
An episode of the Simpson's
The ageless restaurant that still manages to be relevant, Simpson’s In The Strand is as graceful as it is revered, and yet even the grandest establishments are doffing a cap to English Wine Week. And at Simpson’s this means a four course food and wine pairing menu celebrating what we love about the restaurant, British flavours and ingredients, paired with some fine English wines.