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The Society's English White 2020

White Wine from England
Our flagship English white from what is being touted as the best still wine vintage in recent memory. With aromas of white-fruits, citrus and gooseberry this has the generosity of the popular 2018 but with the added aromatics and freshness of the 2019. A delicious dry white and a testament to the wonderful vintage.
is no longer available
Code: EN1541

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • Dry
  • 11% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Now to 2022
  • 75cl
  • Screwcap

England

Thanks to a combination of warmer, drier summers, better understanding of soils and micro-climates, and heavy and intelligent investment in vineyards and wineries, English and Welsh wines are now better than ever.

There are now more than 500 vineyards planted totaling over 2,000 hectares, with a 75% increase in the last six years alone. Because of our northerly latitude and maritime island climate, site selection is crucial. Not surprisingly, the majority of vineyards are found in the English southern counties of Sussex, Kent, Gloucester and Hampshire though there are some found as far north as Yorkshire.

Styles of wine

English and Welsh wine producers as a whole continue to make major improvements to their wines, but it is the producers of premium sparkling wines which have received the most accolades in recent years, blazing a trail for the industry as a whole to be given the serious attention it deserves.


Sparkling wine - This is a major growth area for the UK with our climate...
Thanks to a combination of warmer, drier summers, better understanding of soils and micro-climates, and heavy and intelligent investment in vineyards and wineries, English and Welsh wines are now better than ever.

There are now more than 500 vineyards planted totaling over 2,000 hectares, with a 75% increase in the last six years alone. Because of our northerly latitude and maritime island climate, site selection is crucial. Not surprisingly, the majority of vineyards are found in the English southern counties of Sussex, Kent, Gloucester and Hampshire though there are some found as far north as Yorkshire.

Styles of wine

English and Welsh wine producers as a whole continue to make major improvements to their wines, but it is the producers of premium sparkling wines which have received the most accolades in recent years, blazing a trail for the industry as a whole to be given the serious attention it deserves.


Sparkling wine - This is a major growth area for the UK with our climate well-suited to the production of sparkling wine which accounts for 66% of total output. But it is the premium, bottle-fermented wines that have made the rest of the world sit up and take notice. Sussex and the South Downs are perfect for growing the classic mix of Champagne grapes, chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. The South Downs are actually on the same geological formation (limestone on top of a sandstone belt) that continues down through the east of France to Champagne. However, this type of soil is not everything and many vines for top bubbly made over here are grown on very different, often clay-based soils quite different from the Champagne-like calcareous formation, and our climatic conditions seem to be just as important, if not more so.

The best sparkling wines give the Champenois a good run for their money and are better than many Champagnes. We currently buy top-quality premium sparklers from Nyetimber in West Sussex, who with 400 acres are the largest producer of the style in the UK, and Ridgeview in Ditchling Common, Sussex.

Dry white - Reflecting changing tastes, wines made here are increasingly made on the drier side, helped along by warmer summers and improved techniques in vineyard and winery. Still dry white wines show a natural acidity and crispness in their youth. They tend to have a certain nettley, hedgerow freshness about them that is peculiarly English and most attractive. Such wines now represent 24% of all English wine production, Still

Rosé & red - This is style that is also increasing in popularity and one at which the UK can excel, rosé again shows well in its youth, often with attractive strawberry aromas and just a hint of sweetness to balance out the acidity. Reds are a minority as they tend to sometimes lack the necessary ripeness to allow them to show at their best unless our summer and autumn weather is particularly benign. Advances are being made here too though, as producers experiment with different varieties and vineyard sites to find which ripen best where. Front-runners are dornfelder, rondo and pinot noir but at the moment, none has impressed sufficiently and prices are rather high so we have not yet selected any to offer to members.

Wine labelling - English and Welsh wines are produced and labelled under a Quality Wine Scheme which was established in 1992. They are classified in ascending order as table wine, regional wine or quality wine.

Grape guide

Faced with a blank canvas, what vines should a grower on these islands plant? Many of the varieties planted have German origins, partly because it was originally German-trained winemakers who helped UK growers with advice and expertise. It was also felt that these varieties would have better success in such a northerly latitude and, in the 1970s, when there was a resurgence of wine growing in this country, German wines were in their heyday. It is vital to choose early-ripening varieties with good resistance to fungal disease; many of those that have had success are in fact hybrids, again developed in Germany.

Today, there is a patchwork of a multitude of different varieties found in the vineyards of England and Wales. With one or two notable exceptions, these are generally blended together to create wines with a real point of interest and difference from those found elsewhere in Europe. As many of the grapes will be unfamiliar to members and because they rarely appear on their own, so may be difficult to get to know, we provide the principal characteristics below.

More recently, and line with the success of sparkling wines on these shores, pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier have been planted extensively and continue to be so.
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Three Choirs Vineyards Ltd

Situated in the English countryside where the three counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire converge, Three Choirs has become one of England’s most significant producers. As well as being the second largest wine estate in the country with around 100 acres under vine, Three Choirs is also one of the oldest, having pioneered the English wine movement in the 1970s when the industry was still in its infancy.

Award-winning winemaker Martin Fowke has closely studied the techniques of New World producers such as those in New Zealand, working in cooler climate areas and has successfully tailored the winemaking processes to the prevailing English climate. The gentle undulating south-facing slopes here lie within a special microclimate, sheltered by the Malverns and the Brecon Beacons. The conditions are ideal for ripening the grapes, which are kept cool and clean by the breezes coming up the valley from the River Severn. A variety of well-suited grape varieties including pinot noir is planted and each year, red, white and rosé styles are produced along with sparkling whites.

Martin has recently started projects with boutique wineries around the world to bottle small amounts of their wines as well as brewing speciality beers and producing a range of ciders. He also makes wines for thirty other vineyards in England and Wales at the modern on-site winery. These ongoing enterprises, as well as the visitors’ facilities attracting tourists from around the world to...
Situated in the English countryside where the three counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire converge, Three Choirs has become one of England’s most significant producers. As well as being the second largest wine estate in the country with around 100 acres under vine, Three Choirs is also one of the oldest, having pioneered the English wine movement in the 1970s when the industry was still in its infancy.

Award-winning winemaker Martin Fowke has closely studied the techniques of New World producers such as those in New Zealand, working in cooler climate areas and has successfully tailored the winemaking processes to the prevailing English climate. The gentle undulating south-facing slopes here lie within a special microclimate, sheltered by the Malverns and the Brecon Beacons. The conditions are ideal for ripening the grapes, which are kept cool and clean by the breezes coming up the valley from the River Severn. A variety of well-suited grape varieties including pinot noir is planted and each year, red, white and rosé styles are produced along with sparkling whites.

Martin has recently started projects with boutique wineries around the world to bottle small amounts of their wines as well as brewing speciality beers and producing a range of ciders. He also makes wines for thirty other vineyards in England and Wales at the modern on-site winery. These ongoing enterprises, as well as the visitors’ facilities attracting tourists from around the world to this rural setting, look set to keep Three Choirs firmly at the top of its game.
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England Vintage 2020

Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, 2020 was a hugely successful vintage qualitatively for English vineyards. Quantitatively, however, yields were way down on both 2019 and the enormous 2018, thanks mainly to a devastating frost on 13th and 14th May, exacerbated by the wonderful weather in the weeks that preceded it. Producers across the south coast, Sussex in particular, reported losses of anywhere between 50% and 90%, with Peter Hall at Breaky Bottom one of the worst hit – his first major frost since the '70s.

The rest of the growing season went without any major issues, with a long, warm summer that led to rising pH levels towards harvest – ideal for still wines. Getting the timing of harvest just right, however, was crucial as there was a deluge of rain at the start of October. So, although quantity is down, quality looks very high, especially for still whites and reds.
2020 vintage reviews
2019 vintage reviews
2018 vintage reviews

The Herald

If you love sancerre but don't like the price then ditch it and buy thisinstead. Its floral on the nose with crisp citrus and gooseberry flavours onthe palate. Well done to The Wine Society yet again.
If you love sancerre but don't like the price then ditch it and buy thisinstead. Its floral on the nose with crisp citrus and gooseberry flavours onthe palate. Well done to The Wine Society yet again.
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- Gerard Richardson

Manchester Evening News

[A] cracker which should be convincing enough to persuade anyone to become a member. Opening an English still wine is a distinctive experience in which expectations are muted given the...
[A] cracker which should be convincing enough to persuade anyone to become a member. Opening an English still wine is a distinctive experience in which expectations are muted given the unreliability of our weather. This wine, however, is a stunning example of how to harness a microclimate to full effect. It's made for The Society by Three Choirs [in Gloucestershire]. Having spent time in this area myself I can testify to the qualitry of the fruit grown there and the beautifully abundant fertile gardens at people's homes. This wine shows that to full effect, with a floral nose, gooseberry fruyit and, of course, crisp acidity.Bag a few of these to keep for the spring sunshine and a garden meeting after Easter.
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- Andy Cronshaw

Wine Uncorked

Why do English sparkling wines get all the look in when great value English whites are just as fab? This freshly bottled example from the Gloucestershire Three Choirs vineyard is sold under The Wine...
Why do English sparkling wines get all the look in when great value English whites are just as fab? This freshly bottled example from the Gloucestershire Three Choirs vineyard is sold under The Wine Society label was blended together just before Christmas 2020 from six grape varieties you will only have heard of unless you follow the English wine scene closely but one of them provides a distinct grapefruit kick. Is it the Madeleine Angevine, Reichensteiner, Phoenix, Seyval Blanc, Solaris or Siegurebe? Add in the pineapple, melon and apple fruitiness and the whole mix is a delight. But don't serve it too cold, even though it is a white wine, as the delicate flavours will disappear.
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- Paula Goddard

midweekwines.co.uk

Three Choirs provide The Wine Society’s “house” English wine and the latest (2020) vintage – that should be available from this week – is an excellent illustration of...
Three Choirs provide The Wine Society’s “house” English wine and the latest (2020) vintage – that should be available from this week – is an excellent illustration of how alluring English still wine (as well as its fizz) can be. With aromas of roses, 2020 The Society’s English White follows up with textured red apple, pear and fresh pineapple flavours supported by sharp grapefruit acidity and hints of allspice and aniseed.
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- Brian Elliott

Press & Journal

I've been enjoying the early spring sunshine over the last few days, which has led me to open a rather refreshing white - all the way from Gloucestershire. [This] is produced by long-established...
I've been enjoying the early spring sunshine over the last few days, which has led me to open a rather refreshing white - all the way from Gloucestershire. [This] is produced by long-established estate Three Choirs Vineyards, while 2020 is considered to be the best vintage for English wine in recent years. It's a blend of grapes well-suited to the English climate, but you might not have heard of some of them before - madeleine angevine, reichenstener, phoenix, seyval blanc, solaris and siegurebe. It's really pale with floral scents and notes of grapefruit, peach and lime leaf. Ligjht-bodied, dry, refreshingly zingy with a citrus and mineral finish, it would make a good aperitif, or drink alongside a goat's cheese salad.
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- Carol Brown

Scottish Field

England's answer to sauvignon blanc - all the acidity you could want to slice through [Brodie Williams'] garlic and goat's cheese quiche.

- Peter Ranscombe

Sussex Express

Made by the long-established Three Choirs vineyard in Gloucestershire, it is a deliciously fresh, vibrant and aromatic white, with flavours of grapefruit and gooseberry. Dry, with a crisp acidity, it ...
Made by the long-established Three Choirs vineyard in Gloucestershire, it is a deliciously fresh, vibrant and aromatic white, with flavours of grapefruit and gooseberry. Dry, with a crisp acidity, it is a very drinkable English white wine, to sip in our gardens soon, we hope, whilst planning a getaway to the south-west, or another of Britain’s wonderful regions. Always a problem in a marginal climate, such as England, getting sufficient ripeness and sugar in the grapes for fermentation, 2020 was one of the best still wine vintages in recent memory. Great with smoked mackerel paté.
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- Richard Esling

Portsmouth News

The Society’s English White 2020  is a reminder there is more to English wine than just sparkling wine and this seems a very apt wine for the start of an English s pring. Made for The...
The Society’s English White 2020  is a reminder there is more to English wine than just sparkling wine and this seems a very apt wine for the start of an English s pring. Made for The Wine Society by Three Choirs Vineyards, one of the largest wine estates in the country, the nose is a little reminiscent of a spring hedgerow, along with some citrus blossom and gooseberries. The palate is very fresh with more gooseberry fruit and zesty acidity and a refreshing, just-off-dry finish. This is only 11 per cent alcohol which makes a nice change and it would work equally well as an aperitif or with some smoked fish. If you can wait, how about an asparagus risotto?
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- Alistair Cooper

Liverpool Echo

Maybe you'd like to raise a glass of English white wine. If so, it would be a pleasure to do so with [this wine]. The wine is made for The Society by renowned English producers Three Choirs under ...
Maybe you'd like to raise a glass of English white wine. If so, it would be a pleasure to do so with [this wine]. The wine is made for The Society by renowned English producers Three Choirs under the watchful eye of award-winning winemaker Martin Fowke. It is a wine which cries out to be sipped in a springtime garden.  It has pronounced aromas of gooseberry, green apples, zesty lemon and a springtime hedgerow. Gooseberry and apple are palate partners, together with a vibrant acidity. I love it.
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- Jane Clare

Decanter

It's fresh, herby and aromatic, with pink grapefruit, lemon zest and nettle, hedgerow notes. Less pungent than some bacchus wines, and cracking value, made by Three Choirs in Gloucestershire.

- Amy Wislocki

Mature Times

The pineapple, melon and apple fruitiness and the whole mix is a delight.

- Paula Goddard

Islington Gazette

{This}, from Three Choirs in Gloucestershire, is flowers, crisp fruit, herbs and more, a thoroughly modern-flavoured wine showing off 2020's sunshine at a great-value price.

- Liz Sagues

Hampstead & Highgate Express

{This}, from Three Choirs in Gloucestershire, is flowers, crisp fruit, herbs and more, a thoroughly modern-flavoured wine showing off 2020's sunshine at a great-value price.

- Liz Sagues

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