English fine wine can become serious market force

Renowned sommelier Gerard Basset thinks English wine is in a “very exciting place”

English fine wine can become serious market force

Highly influential and renowned wine expert and winner of the Best Sommelier of the World award, Gerard Basset made a strong endorsement of English wine at the masterclass of the first day at Vinexpo 2015 being held in Bordeaux this week.

Speaking as a part of the “Excellence in unexpected places” panel, which showcased eight ‘unexpected’ medal-winning wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) 2015, Basset said that “English wine is like New Zealand in the 1980s. At that time, New Zealand was not very well known, but now it is considered a very serious wine producer.”

Noting that 30 years ago, on a wine list of 600, only two were English, and that “no English man ever drank English wine,” he said that English wine is now in a “very exciting place.”

Basset chose to highlight Coates & Seely’s sparkling Blanc de Blancs Brut, among eight other wines featured at the panel from countries as diverse as Turkey, Morocco, Switzerland, France and Australia.

Coates & Seely’s Blanc de Blancs Brut won the regional medal for the UK at the DWWA, while six other English wines, mostly white sparkling, won gold medals, including Blanc de Blancs Brut from both Chapel Down and Gusbourne.

Basset’s endorsement comes less than a month after England dominated this year’s first northern hemisphere International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).

English entries were up 70 percent year-on-year and the number of medals awarded was 63 percent higher than in 2014, “smashing records in the competition’s 46 year history”.

Two Gold Outstanding medals, the competition’s highest accolade, were awarded for the 2007 and 2010 Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs white sparkling wines. The first gold medal to be won by an English still wine was awarded to Nutbourne Vineyard’s Nutbourne Sussex Reserve 2013.

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