Top Wineries of Great Britain: 1 to 4
Top Wineries of Great Britain 2021 Feature Week
Location: West Sussex
Best known for: Pioneering the champagne varieties, chardonnay, pinot noir and meunier back in 1988 and building on their first 16 hectares planted in the South Downs, now 260 hectares split across West Sussex, Kent and Hampshire, to become, arguably, England’s top sparkling wine estate.
Under wife and husband and wife winemaking couple Cherie Spriggs and Brad Greatrix, both prestige cuvées, the 1086 and 1086 Rosé are worthy of the prestige name, while Tillington Vineyard, exceptional for pinot noir, is another jewel in the Nyetimber crown.
Location: Dorset, South West
Best known for: Creating superlative sparkling wines from a 10-hectare plot of vines grown close to the south coast in the Kimmeridgian soils of Dorset outside England’s ‘Golden Triangle’ of Sussex, Kent and Hampshire.
England’s youngest winemaker Tommy Grimshaw, only 23 when he joined Langham in 2019, is making a name for himself and Langham with a series of exciting cuvées, including a superb all-meunier cuvée and, recently, a sparkling white and rosé ‘col fondo’ in keg, called Zig Zag.
Location: East Sussex
Best known for: Breaky Bottom is best known as one of the early pioneers of English wine with Peter Hall using seyval blanc and müller-thurgau for still wines and then converting his entire production to sparkling wine based on seyval blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir.
One of the characteristics of the Breaky Bottom style is the amount of time Peter Hall gives his wines on their lees, resulting in some quite delicious cuvées, named in homage to members of the family and individuals who have made an impact on him. The Cuvée Reynolds Stone 2010 and Cuvée Oliver Minkley 2011 are especially memorable.
Best known for: Being another top-flight English sparkling wine producer outside England’s ‘Golden Triangle’ of Sussex, Kent and Hampshire thanks to the efforts (Harrow) and vision (Hope) of Henry Laithwaite, chip off the block of his father, the Laithwaite’s entrepreneur, Tony Laithwaite and mother Barbara, whose Wyfold fizz he also makes.
Henry Laithwaite says he owes a lot to the late Dr Tony Jordan, the Australian fizz master who convinced him that he could make terroir-driven sparkling wine and a successful business at the same time; the result is a sheaf of superlative wines, notably a toasty, rich Brut Reserve, a mouthwatering Blanc de Noirs and elegantly savoury Rosé.