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English Wine Week – Our Top Five Tipples

English wine week is coming up on 15 – 22 June. Hurrah, an excuse to drink wine every weekday! Need some inspiration? Here are five lovely tipples we reckon are worth the spend.

Plus some handy tips on picking elderflower at this time of year are at the bottom too.

Burn Valley Vineyard – Solaris

This beautiful vineyard on the North Norfolk coast can be found on Crossway Farm in North Creake. A Family holding, the Robinson’s run regular wine tastings and special events like secret superclubs and jazz nights in the summer months. For 2024, Burn Valley has launched a record number of ten new vintages, including the Solaris 23. In-house winemaker Matthew Abbey breaks it down. “A slightly different style of Solaris for Burn Valley due to the growing season in 2023, usually we’re doing 6-7 months of batonnage/lees stirring to give more depth and palate weight but on the 2023 there was only two months on lees ageing so the wine is a lighter, fresher, fruiter style. Aromas of citrus and floral notes.”


Blanc De Blancs NV Winston estate

Here’s a lovely sparkling wine from Wiston Estate in Sussex.  The wines are grown and produced on the historic estate’s south-facing chalk slopes in the South Downs, which has been in the hands of the Goring family since 1743. We tried their Blanc De Blanc NV sparkling wine, which was crisp and delicious, and it seems many top restaurants would agree as you can find the wines in top spots including L’Enclume and Claude Bosi at Bibendum.


Riverview Crouch Valley 2021 Pinot Noir

Katie Yesil and her husband Umut founded Essex vineyard Riverview Crouch Valley in 2018 and rate their wines’ exceptional taste as being down to the rich clay soil found locally. They grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Pick up a bottle of their single varietal hand-harvested Pinot Noir (2021) and you’ll be one of the lucky few as only 900 bottles have been made! The wine is fermented in small batches and then transferred to French oak barrels for further ageing for 12 months. You can expect delicate floral notes and red fruit aromas of strawberry, red currant and cranberry, with just a hint of smoke, orange peel and sweet spice to finish.



Roebuck Estates Classic Cuvee

Here’s another smashing sparkling wine from Sussex vineyard Roebuck Estates.

Roebuck is committed to minimising environmental impact. They have an experienced viticulture team and a resident ecologist looking after their sustainable vineyard management. Sheep are brought in to roam the land in winter months and approximately 250 thousand bees are kept on site as well as 1,500 native trees and they’ve even built four reptile habitats.

This Classic Cuvee is crafted from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It's partially fermented in old Burgundian oak barrels followed by ageing for a minimum of four years to increase its depth and complexity.



Uncommon Wines

If you want to celebrate English Wine Week al fresco, why not pick up some wines in a can and make for your nearest spot of green? There are a few brands creating pretty decent wine in cans these days, but The Uncommon gets the prize for the most aesthetically designed with their colourful Victoriana animal characters on the can sleeves. Take your pick from Gerald the Giraffe (a dry white wine made up of Bacchus and Chardonnay) or Eleanor the Goose (a sparkling rosé made from Pinot Noir). This takes drinking a tinnie in the park to a whole new level.

From £28

Elderflower Season

Elderflower season deserves a little shout-out here too. The king of elderflower cordial Belvoir is celebrating 40 years and has shared tips for picking your own elderflower at this time of year.

You can jazz up any inexpensive sparkling wine or prosecco by adding a dash of Belvoir elderflower cordial, for an instant cocktail for your summer sipping.

Pev at Belvoir shares his top tips for successful elderflower harvesting in June and July.

A gentle sunny day is best for foraging as you want the pollen on the flowers.

Find a spot away from a busy road - horse paddocks are great.

Key equipment you’ll need:

  • Walking stick – one with a curved end so you can grab and pull down the top branches.

  • A basket if you have one, for collecting the flowers, or any bag or hessian sack suspended to your belt works just as well.

  • Pev’s preferred method is picking from the taller branches, by drawing the boughs down with a walking stick. Always pull gently at the end where it is more pliable, to avoid snapping the branch.

  • Don’t use scissors, just bare hands, as it’s easier to just snap off the flower-heads.

  • Look for creamy white heads with a dusting of greeny-yellow pollen. That is where the flavour lies.

  • If you find one with a head the size of a tea plate, you know they’ll be good. However, if the pollen is brown, the flowers have gone too far. Anything that smells stale, like cat pee, is also beyond its best.

  • Cut just below the umbel — the common point at which all the short flower stalks extend.

  • Try not to shake the blooms too much, or wash them, as you'll lose much of the valuable pollen and flavour.

  • Lay the blossom out in the shade for a couple of hours so that any insects can walk away.

  • Use your picked flowers as soon as possible - ideally within 6-8 hours of picking - before the pollen falls off and the flowers go brown, which they will do after about 8 hours off the bush.


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