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Decanter Best

Best English wines to try this Christmas

Celebrate Christmas and surprise your guests with some of the best quality English sparkling and still wines, chosen by the Decanter team.

Light up your Christmas with the vivacious bubbles and bright acidity of English sparkling and still wines, hand-picked by the Decanter team. Be spoiled for choice from premium bubbles, festive rosés and gift options in magnum format. All wines are above 88 points.

Our highlights

From the premium end, the 2010 vintage of Nyetimber’s 1086 is the latest release of the estate’s Prestige Cuvée. A truly special treat that stands testament to the ageing potential of English sparkling wines. Hambledon Vineyard’s Première Cuvée Rosé 2016, driven by Pinot Meunier, offers a punchy, memorable flavour profile that sets to change your perception of an English sparkling rosé.

For Christmas gift ideas, Exton Park has released a twin-pack of its 2014 Blanc de Blancs, one cellar-aged and one sea-aged, each showing intriguingly distinctive characters. From Simpsons Wine Estate, the Q Class Chardonnay, in magnum, is only made in exceptional years. The 2020 vintage was especially impressive with its depth and richness. Ridgeview’s late disgorged edition of its NV Oak Reserve sparkling wine, with its laminated cherry wood label, will certainly inspire some curious conversations at the dinner table.

For fizzes that offer both value and quality, Greyfriars’ Blanc de Blancs 2015, at £27 per bottle, is our top recommendation. The NV Brut from Louis Pommery, at £30 via Ocado, and Quob Park Extra Brut at £31.50, are also value finds that won’t disappoint.

If you are in the mood for Burgundian-style still whites, opt for Balfour Winery’s tank-aged Skye’s Chardonnay 2022 or Gusbourne’s barrel-fermented Guinevere Chardonnay 2021 and savour the subtle differences. For a serious taste of the English ‘signature grape’ – Bacchus – Chapel Down’s Kit’s Coty Bacchus 2020 will surprise you with its complex perfume and palate.

For a splash of colour, some of our favourite festive pinks include Rathfinny’s sparkling Rosé 2019, Black Chalk’s Wild Rose 2020 and Railway Hill Rosé 2022 from Simpsons.

A growing industry

In 2022, 12.2 million bottles of wine were produced in Great Britain, a 130% increase from 2017, according to the most recent survey conducted by industry body WineGB.

Britain has 3,928ha of land under vine – excluding an estimated further 400ha planted in 2023 – and 943 vineyards and 209 wineries.

Chardonnay (1228ha), Pinot Noir (1,141ha) and Pinot Meunier (343) remain the favourites of wine growers in England and Wales, while cool-climate varieties such as Bacchus (298ha), Seyval Blanc (122ha) and Solaris (95ha) are increasingly valued for their ability to produce quality still wines.

Sparkling wines still account for 68% of Britain’s total wine production, with the majority (93%) made using the traditional method. The remaining 32% of production comprises a wide range of still wines, among which 62% are white and 21% are rosé.

Data from WineGB / Wine Standards

Best English wines for Christmas

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