Sussex white crowned among the best English wines at the 2018 Independent English Wine Awards.
I’m pleased to announce that one of my favourite wineries has marched off with a gold medal under its arm at the second annual Independent English Wine Awards, where wines from 22 counties went head to head. Stopham Estate’s 2015 Pinot Gris not only earned gold in the still wines category, it also won a blind tasting against other gold winners, making it the still wines’ Best in Show (or is that title reserved only for dogs?).
The “best of the best” in the sparkling category, meanwhile, went to the 2014 Rosé from Langham Wine Estate in Dorset. There was even gold for one red: Lyme Bay Winery’s 2016 Pinot Noir. In total 13 golds, 28 silvers and 31 bronzes were awarded, with winners a near even split between sparkling and still wines.
They’re no strangers to to accolades at Stopham. Last year their 2014 Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc both won silvers (the Blanc got silver again this year), alongside highly regarded entries from the likes of Lyme Bay and Wiston. The 2010 version of the Gris was also Jancis Robinson’s wine of the week in Feb 2012, with the esteemed writer exclaiming it had “come to the rescue of British wine writers everywhere”.
The full list of winners was yet to be released at the time of writing, but Stopham’s owner Simon Woodhead broke the news to me over a glass of his winning bevvy the other night. Here are my thoughts on it.
The Stopham Estate 2015 Wines
Clean and refreshing, yet soft and fruity, the Gris exudes a subtle elegance — almost like it knows it’s good. On the nose, it’s mainly stone fruits — peach and apricot — although I might have even detected a spot of rhubarb and custard in the background.
As you’d expect from an English wine, it’s pale in colour and fairly light in alcohol, while on the palate there’s citrus and restrained gooseberry, and its appley acidity means it’ll go just as well with pork as it does with white fish.
The silver medal-winning Pinot Blanc, meanwhile, is fuller, with almost Burgundian-style honey and pear on the nose, while still retaining that zingy citrus on the tongue. As it opens up, wild flowers emerge to join the party.
Both excellent ambassadors for English wine then. I look forward to seeing the little gold award stickers on Stopham’s bottles soon.
The full list of 2018 winners can be found her https://www.iewa.uk/gallery/2018/
Both of these Stopham Estate wines are avaeilable for £15.99 in selected Waitrose stores, or from the Stopham website www.stophamvineyard.co.uk
Stopham Estate is a member of Sussex Wineries