Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.
English wine week is now here! Twinned with a bank holiday weekend with glorious weather predicted, now is the time to enjoy the warmer weather with a glass of English fizz and tub of English strawberries.
Great Britain and England in particular wasn’t always your first thought when it came to thinking of great wines, but with favourable conditions, especially in the South East, we’re starting to get some recognition for our fantastic selection of wines and award winning sparkling wines.
We actually have a much longer history of viticulture in the UK and we’ve actually been producing the stuff for over 2000 years old and it was only in 1536 when the Dissolution of the Monasteries ruined much of England’s wine growing.
It is worth noting that wine can also be made from many other products such as strawberries, elderflower, rhubarb and even nettles and clover.
Believe it or not but the southern part of England actually has very similar climate to Champagne, so why shouldn’t Britain make it’s own wine? All over England there are chalky or sandy soils that you need to grow wonderful grapevines and while you might think, but it snows and gets so cold here, the vines thrive in the winter with a hard frost and the cold to kill of any nasty bugs while they lay dormant.
English sparkling wines are made in the same way as the French Champagnes and we can even use the same grape varieties for pinot noir and chardonnay.
Knowing all that it’s a little bit strange we’re so inclined to pick up a bottle of French wine when we can create a truly brilliant product here. British wines hold a certain elegance and finesse that you wont find in other wines and to top it off, we’re supporting local producers who are right here on our door step.
Pinot Noir is very much at home in the English climate. Light in tannins with hints of raspberries and cherries and sometimes in a more savoury pinot noir you will find earthy flavours like mushrooms, vanilla and forest. This wonderful wine is light enough to go with baked salmon, but also complex enough to hold it’s own with a roast duck and you won’t have too much difficulty tracking a bottle down if you’re looking in the right places. As a matter of fact British wines even win awards, including eight trophies for the Best International Sparkling Wine and four for the Best Sparkling Rosé.
Seeing as our wines are being recognised as a serious wine contender abroad we should be focusing on putting them on our menus at home.
You could even become a wine maker yourself and use some of your your home grown produce of forage some local hedgerows!