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© John Farren

Meeting 383 -"St Georges Day - English Wines "

Speaker: Julia Trustram Eve, MD of English Wine Producers
Friday 24th April 2015: Neville Hall, Waltham St Lawrence


        We decided to celebrate St George's Day with a tasting of English Wines. We were joined by Julia Trustram Eve, Marketing Director for English Wine Producers. Julia proved to be extremely knowledgeable and was a fund of information. She remains working in the English wine industry as the changes that are taking place make it an exciting place to be - acreage has doubled in the last 10 years; there are currently 470 vineyards in England, 20 in Wales and 1 in Scotland; twenty four vineyards produce 80% of the output; two thirds of overall production is sparkling wines with aromatic still white wines also proving popular. Much advice has been sought from Germany over the years, enthusiasm meaning that patchy quality has gradually been replaced with a professional, business approach, an improvement in planting and a greater degree of consistency.

        The aperitif wine was a Brut 2012 from Camel Valley in Cornwall with 50% Seyval Blanc, 25% Chardonnay and 25% Reichensteiner. This was an Award winner and Camel Valley is proving to be a great ambassador for the world of English wines. We tasted two more sparkling wines, a Classic Cuvée Brut NV from Hambledon and a Rosé, Ridgeview Fitzrovia from Ridgeview scoring 6.5 and 7 respectively. Two whites followed - a Bacchus 2013 from Chapel Down (6.5) and a Pinot Blanc 2013 from Stopham (7.5). A Rosé from Denbies NV made of 85% Dornfelder and 15% Pinot Noir scored 6 and our one red wine of the evening, a Pinot Noir from Bolney Wine Estate, achieved a wide spread of scores, averaging at 7. The final wine was a Late Harvest 2013 from Astley, 100% Siegerrebe, scoring 6.5.

        Charlotte frequently impresses us with the quality of her meals, and Friday was no exception as she excelled herself once again, on this occasion assisted by an aspirational trainee chef, Di. Continuing the English theme Charlotte created our favourite foods, first in miniature in the form of canapés and then as a main course. We tasted rare roast beef Yorkies, a traditional English breakfast (including a baked bean!) and mini fish and chips. Our main course was Toad in the Hole with Bubble and Squeak (try explaining that to German friends!) followed by a three part dessert - lemon posset, individual Bakewell tarts and sticky toffee pudding. All absolutely delicious. (Chris Graham)