Oz Clarke; 'English Wine: From Still to Sparkling: The Newest New World Wine Country'
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Like Barbury Hill, Oz Clarke has a passion for English wine. And while we’ve sampled a fair few in our tastings, we bow to his expertise on all things oenological. So we were delighted to hear that he’d penned a new book; ‘English Wine: From Still to Sparkling: The Newest New World Wine Country’. A veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of English vineyards and viticulture, we spotted a few Barbury Hill favourites, including Langham Wine Estate, Sharpham, and our newest handpicked producer, Giffords Hall, and couldn’t wait to tell you more.
Why We Love it
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of English wine. From Langham to Sharpham, the UK’s chalky hillsides and gentle warmth have turned our southern counties into wine producing regions to rival their French counterparts. And Oz Clarke certainly agrees. In this riveting read, he brings together his favourite vineyards but also delves into the history, climate, viticulture and grape varieties.
Judging by his writing style, Oz Clarke would be a fun drinking companion. ‘English Wine: From Still to Sparkling’, zips along, whizzing through everything from the history of wine in England and how the changing climate has created the ideal conditions for grapes, to how to make a decent fizz. And he brings the reader along for the ride. Full of personal anecdotes and experiences, it’s bubbly and entertaining, just like the sparkling English wines he loves.
But of course, Oz Clarke has tasted more than his fair share of vintages, so the exploration of English wines is as detailed as it is exciting, particularly when it comes to the last section ‘A Tour of the Regions’. The facts and figures that lead into each producer are invaluable, but it’s the stories and reflections that kept us reading. Dotted with personal tales, he introduces us to his favourite independent producers across the UK, and picks out one or two top wines from each.
While we like to think that we’ve visited our fair share of vineyards in our tastings to find the best English wine from small independent producers, Oz puts us to shame in his wanderings. Travelling the length and breadth of England, from Yorkshire to Wales, Suffolk to Cornwall, he’s sampled his way through enough vineyards to be able to give an educated opinion. And so when we saw three Barbury Hill producers featured, we knew the rest would be of an equally superior standard.
What Oz Loves About Barbury Hill’s Producers
Oz has picked out Langham Wine Estate, Sharpham, and Giffords Hall, who feature amongst the industry stalwarts such as Nyetimber. While we’ve tried and tasted the range of wines featured on Barbury Hill, it’s reassuring to know that Oz agrees; these are particularly special English wines.
Langham’s award-winning Blanc de Blancs gets a special mention for “its purity, its focus, its electric acidity”. Like Barbury Hill, he’s impressed by Langham’s eco-friendly credentials; this is a relatively young vineyard but one making a big impact as a champion for sustainability.
What’s not to love about a vineyard that also produces cheese? And Oz is obviously a man after our own heart as he agrees. He praises the wines as “light and refreshing, fabulous for picnics by the river eating Sharpham’s excellent cheese”. It’s almost as if he’s heard about The Barbury Hill Cheese and Wine Pairing!
Hailing from Suffolk, Giffords Hall is one of Barbury Hill’s latest independent producers. As Oz notes, 40% of their wine is exported so we’re proud to be able to deliver their superb rosé and St Edmundsbury Pinot Noir to doors across the UK.
While we’ve tried and tasted all the wines we bring to Barbury Hill, it’s always a confidence boost to know that the great Oz Clarke shares our love of these great English wines. Why not see what all the fuss is about by popping a bottle or two in your basket today?
by Dan Smith , Barbury Hill Founder
Dan founded Barbury Hill and he is the man behind our mission to shine a light on the best of British food and drink. He loves wine, cider and small batch cheese. And every producer on Barbury Hill.