As part of our Winter Wine Warmers series, we’ve reviewed two of our favourite English still wines to enjoy in the colder months – one red, one white

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Still wines make up about 30% of the bottles produced each year in the UK – our cooler climate and chalky soils mean vines are better adapted for the high acidic grape varieties that go into our sparkling wines.

Yet, in a good year when the summer is a little warmer and the rain stays away, wine producers can leave the grapes on the vine to ripen just a little longer, which in turn gives them a greater chance to create decent still wines, offering a more fruity, complex flavour profile.

The red

Whitehall Pinot Noir 2019   

£19.99

Wiltshire

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Why we love it

This best-selling, award-winning wine has received rave reviews from far and wide, demonstrating a uniquely English profile for this temperamental grape variety. The harvest of 2019 yielded fruit forward berries, creating a wine that balances acidity, light tannins and a touch of toast from its time in French oak.

At the recent 2021 Wines of Great Britain Awards, Whitehall Vineyard took home six gongs. Their Pinot Noir 2019 received a sliver award, one of only a small handful of still English wines to do so across the board.

On the nose, there are aromas of cooked strawberries, fresh redcurrant, raspberry and a hint of pencil shavings.

On the palate, at 11.5% ABV, this is a delicate wine yet as a blend of 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Rondo, it punches above a typical English Pinot, driven by the inkier and rounder Rondo. The flavour profile is typical of a savoury Pinot Noir with tart strawberry, notes of dark plum that softens into toast and vanilla, opening after time with a lingering Christmas spice and mulled wine.

A good match for…

Wintery evenings around the table or by the fire. With its soft tannins, this food-friendly wine is the perfect pairing for roast duck, lamb or pheasant, a shepherd’s pie or even a creamy vegetable pasta dish. Place the bottle outside for an hour to give it a slight chill, which will to add to the complexity of its profile.

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About the vineyard

Whitehall Farm has been in the same family for five generations. The Self family established their vineyard at the farm in 2017, with the aim to produce premium English wines on the land they have loved and tended to in the Avon Valley for over a century. The vineyard is not currently open to the public.

whitehallvineyard.co.uk

The white

Artelium Twenty-Twenty Chardonnay 2020 

£18

East Sussex

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Why we love it

This unoaked 12% ABV Chardonnay is a great example of what Sussex can produce, having been made with grapes from vineyards across the county. 2020 was a relatively dry summer which resulted in low yielding yet high-quality berries that could be left on the vine a little longer than usual to ripen, which is a green light for still wines.

On the nose this wine is elegant, projecting a decent cool climate expression of the grape, with orange and lemon followed by notes of melon, pineapple and sweet fennel. Quite an interesting bouquet!

On the palate it has a lively acidity with a subtle complexity, balancing citrus flavours with hints of peach and a touch of pineapple. There’s a sense of creaminess in the mouthfeel whilst the freshness lingers long on the finish. In short, an interesting vibrant, zingy English wine from an interesting English producer – a fitting example of contemporary, creative wine making with a touch of British sass.

A good match for…

As an unoaked Chardonnay with decent body and texture, this wine is relatively versatile and can be matched with a variety of dishes and flavours. Stay clear of very spicy food – Chardonnay tends to prefer lighter meats and loves its butter and carbs – so fish, pork, chicken and creamy pasta dishes make for ideal pairings. If you prefer to enjoy white wine during Christmas dinner, it will go fabulously with your roast turkey.

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About the vineyard

Originally created by its founders to bring together their passions of wine, art and nature, the contemporary wine estate of Artelium celebrates craftsmanship across all three. Collaborating with renowned artists and wine producers, the team have created what they feel are “exceptional wines with a true expression of England’s unique terrior”.

A vineyard that combines wine with art is unique in the UK, offering visitors yet another reason to venture out to discover this innovative, exciting producer. The ever-changing visual arts programme at the vineyard includes exhibitions of local painters, sculptors and installations.

With a tasting room, wine bar and shop, visitors can book a tour of the estate to get up close to sustainable viticulture, sampling the subsequent still and sparkling wines in Artelium’s stylish tasting room, or on the al fresco terrace, with the South Downs stretched before them.

artelium.com

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*Information and prices correct at time of publication and may be subject to change.