Princely English Pinot Noir

Gusbourne Pinot Noir Boot Hill Vineyard 2014, England, 11.5%

(£22-23, Honest Grapes, Hennings, Buon Vino)

The recent English Wine Producers tasting is an annual event that gets palpably more exciting and delicious every year. There were far too many exciting wines to be able to recommend them all individually. We will certainly come back to a few, though, especially the Blanc de Blancs sparkling category, undoubtedly England’s strongest suit at the moment, with names like Wiston, Ridgeview, Gusbourne, Hattingley Valley, Chapel Down, Bluebell, Exton Park, Court Garden and Nyetimber on fine form.

But this cheeky little red caught my eye – in Gusbourne’s stylish new livery, a pale-hued red with the scent of autumn woodsmoke and succulent flavours of tangy berry fruit. It’s not cheap, but it’s yet more proof that still wines from the UK can compete alongside our world class fizz. Susie and I still remember being served, blind, a Chapel Down Tenterden Vineyard Pinot Noir 2003 during a very grand dinner at Château Lascombes in Bordeaux (and just after a magnum of the house’s positively decadent 1969 vintage). The English Pinot very much held its own in the context – as, it seems, will the next generation of home-grown still wines. (Peter, May 2016, 7/10)