Simon Roberts didn’t understand what they were saying when a winemaker turned to his Dad and said “this lad’s got a good palate, nurture it”. Gradually, Simon started moving to winemaking.
In the blinking of an eye, in wine history terms at least, Oxney Organic Estate has established itself as the UK’s biggest organic winery at Beckley in the south-east corner of East Sussex close to the county border with Kent.
Ridgeview Single Vineyard Blanc de Blancs 2016, Sussex, GBP £60
Exton Park Pinot Meunier Rosé NV, Hampshire, GBP £95
Oxney Organic Classic 2018, East Sussex, GBP £38
Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Coeur de Cuvée 2016, Kent, GBP £100
Earlier this year, in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee, the Queen released a Buckingham Palace English Sparkling Wine, a blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and meunier grapes grown in Kent and West Sussex.
Since the pioneering days of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Sussex, comprising the two counties of East and West Sussex, has become the engine room of English sparkling wine.
English wine was a faraway wine country of which we knew little, but there was an atavistic feeling at the newspaper that perhaps we should do the occasional piece on, whisper it quietly, English wine.
Black Chalk: best known for chalk. Based in the chalklands of Hampshire, Black Chalk symbolises the name used by the old masters to sketch out their ideas on canvas and the chalk soils. Oxney Organic Estate: best known for being the UK’s largest single estate organic vineyard, certified by the Soil Association, with a vineyard area of 13.65 hectares from a total estate of 320 hectares. Artelium Wine Estate: best known for calling themselves artisanal producers and putting on art exhibitions. Rathfinny Wine Estate: best know for being a large single vineyard site on a windy, south-facing, chalky slope in the South Downs.