Exploring The Flavours Of English Wines: A Guide For Wine Lovers

France, Spain, Italy, New World… You can find first-class wines from so many regions in the world, but English wines rarely feature highly on wine-lovers’ go-to lists. But the English wine industry is growing fast – and for good reason. 

English wines are unique and have a distinct flavour that sets them apart from other wines. In this blog post, we will explore the flavours of English wines and provide a guide to the best English wines on the market today.

What Is The Definition Of An English Wine?

English wine is defined as a wine made from grapes grown in England. This may seem obvious, but it is important to note that the grapes must be grown in England to be classified as English wine. Another prerequisite is that English wine can only be made from certain grape varieties that are suited to the English climate: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier for sparkling wines, and Bacchus, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc for still wines.

What Flavours Of English Wine Can You Get?

As with any wine, the flavours of English wines are determined by grape variety, the soil, and the climate of the vineyard. English wines are known for their acidity and freshness – attributed to the cool climate and short growing season. English white wines are typically dry, with crisp notes of green apple, citrus and mineral. English red wines are light-bodied and have red fruit notes such as red cherry, raspberry and cranberry. English rosé wines have a fruity and floral character, with strawberry and raspberry notes.

What Is The Best English Sparkling Wine?

English sparkling wine has been gaining a reputation for its quality and taste. In fact, some critics believe that English sparkling wine is as good as Champagne – the chalky soils in many southern English vineyards are similar to those in Champagne, contributing to the unique flavour of English sparkling wine. We recommend the multi-award-winning Nyetimber Classic Cuvée as a top choice – with its delicate mousse and a complex flavour, combining notes of green apple, lemon and brioche. 

Are There Different Types Of English Wine?

Yes, there are different types of English wine. English wine can be still, sparkling, or fortified. Sparkling wine is the most common type of English wine, and it is made using traditional methods involving a secondary fermentation in the bottle. English still wine is also gaining popularity, and it is made from grapes that are not suitable for sparkling wine production. Fortified wine is made by adding grape brandy to the wine, which increases the alcohol content and adds a nutty flavour.

Is English Wine Any Good?

English wines have come a long way over the past few decades, and the quality has improved significantly. In the past, English wines were often seen as inferior to wines from other countries due to the cooler climate and shorter growing season. But advancements in technology and viticulture practices have allowed English winemakers to produce high-quality wines that are on par with some of the best wines in the world.

One of the unique characteristics of English wines is their acidity and freshness. This is due to the cooler climate, which allows the grapes to ripen slowly and retain their natural acidity. As a result, English wines have a crisp, refreshing taste that is perfect for pairing with food. English wines are also known for their fruit-forwardness and delicate floral aromas, making them a great choice for those who enjoy light and refreshing wines.

English sparkling wines are now being recognised as some of the best in the world. In fact, many English sparkling wines have beaten their French counterparts in blind taste tests. This is due to the similar climate and soil conditions to the Champagne region, which allows English winemakers to produce sparkling wines that are comparable in quality to Champagne.

So now you know. Next time you’re down your local pub, why not ask if they have any English wines, you won’t be disappointed.

Summer 2023 cocktail inspiration

Summer is in full swing, and it doesn’t get much better than sipping on some cocktails in the sunshine in your favourite pub.

PROOF Insight recently found that 1 in 4 under-35s are drinking less often but treating themselves to better quality when they are out.

You can even use our ‘Pubs that have a Cocktail Bar’ Pubfinder, if you’re after some inspiration for where to go.

Get inspired for your summer of cocktails with some of our on-trend top picks next time you go to your local.

Summer of Spritz  

According to research from PROOF Insight, 5% of people say they would drink a spritz cocktail when moderating their alcohol intake. Our love for spritz serves in the summer shows no sign of slowing down, with many bars now creating a separate spritz menu to entice customers looking for refreshment in the sunshine.  

Lemon Spritz  

50ml Limoncello
75ml Prosecco
25ml Soda water 
Ice cubes
Half slice of lemon
Sprig of mint 

Fill a large long-stemmed wine glass with ice cubes. Pour in Prosecco, lime, soda water and stir well. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint. 

Elderflower Spritz  

25ml Elderflower liqueur 
20ml Gin 
90ml Prosecco 
35ml Soda water 
Fresh lime 

Fill a tumbler glass with ice. Add elderflower liqueur, gin and prosecco. Top with soda water and garnish with sliced lime. 

Tequila, Tequila  

Mexican cuisine is already popular in the UK and is currently eaten regularly by 1 in 3 under 45s. 30% of under 45s already enjoy tequila in cocktails and as a shot, and 1 in 10 enjoy it mixed with tonic.   

Tommy’s Margarita  

50ml Tequila Blanco 
25ml Fresh lime juice 
12.5ml Agave syrup 
Salt for rim (Optional) 
Lime wedge 

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add ingredients, shake and pour into a rocks glass with a salt rim and filled with ice. Garnish with lime wedge. 

Pink Grapefruit Paloma  

25ml Tequila Blanco 
25ml Pink grapefruit juice 
15ml Lime juice 
10ml Agave syrup 
Pink grapefruit soda 

Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker – minus the pink grapefruit soda. Shake and strain over ice in a highball glass. Top up with pink grapefruit soda and stir. Garnish with a slice of fresh pink grapefruit. 

More summer serves  

Sometimes you just want something fun and refreshing to add to that summer feeling. Check out some of our picks below.  

Piña Colada  

50ml Spiced Rum  
75ml Pineapple juice 
25ml Coconut cream 

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with a slice of fresh pineapple. 

Summer Lemonade  

60ml London Dry Gin 
20ml Lemon juice 
20ml Agave syrup 
1 Fresh Passionfruit 
50ml Lemonade 

Blend all ingredients except lemonade without ice. Strain to remove passionfruit seeds. Add two handfuls of crushed ice to blended mixture. Blend to a granita texture. Serve in a Copa glass and top up with 50ml lemonade. 

Passionfruit Martini 

60ml Vanilla vodka 
30ml Passionfruit liqueur  
12.5ml Vanilla syrup 
20ml Lime juice 
1 passionfruit – cut in half 

Scoop the seeds from half a passionfruit into a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, passionfruit liqueur, lime juice and vanilla syrup. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the other half of passionfruit. Serve with shot of prosecco on the side.

World Cider Day

Happy World Cider Day. Are you one of the 1 in 2 cider drinkers that only drink cider in the summer months? This summer, we’ll be enjoying the bursting summer fruit flavours of Kopparberg mixed fruits and the refreshing sips plus apple aromas of The Orchard Pig. Two cracking ciders that are well worth looking our for down your local. Here’s to long, lazy, cider-summer days in your favourite pub gardens.

Proof & useyourlocal announce partnership to help pubs get more customers

Useyourlocal’s ‘Claim My Pub’ feature to be offered to pubs for FREE, sponsored by Proof

Proof Insight, the specialist research agency for the drinks and hospitality industry, has teamed up with leading online pub platform useyourlocal, to help pubs in the UK improve their digital presence for free. From today, every single pub in the UK can use the Claim My Pub feature on useyourlocal’s platform, giving them direct access to useyourlocal’s growing audience of up to 1 million monthly visitors, all of whom are looking to go to the pub.

By claiming their pub, every licensee will unlock free access to their page, enabling them to add menus, photos, opening hours, website, social links and much more. The initiative means that the platform’s huge audience of pub lovers will be able to find them more easily, at a time when hospitality continues to be so adversely affected by everything from train strikes to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Every claimed pub also receives their own ‘verified tick’ confirming the accuracy of their information, promoting their listing, and improving their search ranking on the platform still further. Previously, the service cost £150 a year.

Proof will be working with parent company, C&C Group’s portfolio of UK drinks wholesalers, Matthew Clark, Bibendum, and Tennent’s, to encourage as many of their customers as possible to use the feature.

Stuart Mills, Founder of useyourlocal says: ‘We know that many pubs still struggle with their online presence, and that 30% of pubs might not even have their own website. We also know that 76% of consumers would go to pubs more often if it was easier for them to find exactly what they’re looking for. This initiative helps us to put that right and to drive our huge audience of pub lovers into pubs. We are thrilled that Proof are sponsoring our Claim My Pub service, allowing more and more pubs to use our platform for free.’

James Scott, MD at Proof Insight adds: ‘The harder the trading environment becomes, the smarter we must all work to find new ways of getting more people to go to the pub. We are delighted to sponsor useyourlocal’s Claim My Pub feature which we know will help get more people into pubs, more often.’

To claim their pub, licensees simply need to go to useyourlocal.com, find their pub, claim their page for free and update it with everything that’s great about them.

Taking on the Transpennine Real Ale Trail

The combination of a bank holiday plus nice weather, is the perfect opportunity to explore new places and try something a little different. Over the Easter break, I took on this trail between Manchester and Leeds with some real ale fans in the shape of my partner’s family, to see what all the fuss was about. For the full list of pubs featured, we have a dedicated publist on our main site here, www.useyourlocal.com/publist/transpennine-real-ale-trail-1787.

Now, there seems to be quite a discussion out there as to which end you should start and finish at, but I guess it depends where you want to be at the end of it. As we were all staying in Leeds, we decided to start furthest west and make our way steadily back. Starting at:

  • Stalybridge Buffet Bar – Found on platform 4 of Stalybridge train station, this is one of the very few remaining Victorian station buffet bars and dates back to 1885. Bigger than you think and packed out with station photographs and memorabilia, they had a large list of cask and craft ales to try. A stout, a bitter, a ruby, an IPA and a hand pulled local cider all made their way into our small group of 6. Mike later said this was the best pulled pint of the trail, whether it was because it was the first or because the rest blur into one, is still to be decided.
  • The Railway Inn – a hop, skip and a jump onto the next passing train, we made our way to the next stop. The Railway Inn is just opposite Greenfield train station, on the other side of the road, and a pub where you can really appreciate the beautiful views overlooking Greenfield Valley. Renowned for its live bands and jam sessions, this is where we realised from the “What’s on” board that the Ale Trail tends to be on a Saturday, but nonetheless, we enjoyed our round and made our way to catch the next train.
  • Riverhead Brewery Tap – a short 5 minute walk downhill from the station, this tap house is ideally placed in the picturesque village of Marsden. Glorious sunshine made us pick a table outside overlooking the river and by this point we were getting a bit peckish. Boasting of a pub, brewery and a restaurant all onsite, we enjoyed delicious dishes from BaoBros23, as well as taking advantage of the bar nibbles, pork pies and scotch eggs.
  • The Commercial, Slaithwaite – now this is where we started to deviate from the trail. We never actually made it to The Commercial, choosing to skip this stop as we realised we were never going to make all 8 before the trains stopped. It’s a shame as it looks like they have a great selection of local beers as well as from micro breweries across the country.
  • The Kings Head, Huddersfield – we also missed, but only because we wrongly thought it was the Head of Steam found on the same platform! You need to try the other end to find The Kings Head, a restored Victorian waiting room serving 10 real ales, 5 craft kegs, real cider, as well as the usual draught selection, bottles and cans.
  • Navigation Tavern – Back on track, we made it to Mirfield. A little more modern than the other pubs after their huge refurb, The Navi sits along the canal side just round the corner from the station, with a large outside veranda and decking area, perfect for watching the sun set. Owned by the same family for over 20 years, they have a reputation for serving the best beers, ciders and guest ales in the area and have been an Ambassador of Theakston’s real ales for over 15 years. Famous for its regular beer festivals and Navifest music festival, The Navigation Tavern is one to visit ale trail or not.
  • West Riding Licensed Refreshment Rooms – located on Platform 2 within Dewsbury station, we found a quiet little corner by the fire to enjoy. While eyeing up the large container of pork crackling on the bar, we only had time for a quick one here before running off to catch the last train to Leeds. Even from our brief visit you could tell this was a pub full of character, they have regular live bands playing, weekly meat raffles and even “I missed the train at Dewsbury” merch, which we almost did!
  • Cellar Bar, Bately – reliant on the trains meant we also missed the last pub on the trail. With a great selection of rotating guest beers, TV’s showing all the sports and what looks like a sun-trap of an outside area, you can see why some choose to use this as their starting point.

I have to say, the staff were of course great in all venues we visited, very friendly and welcoming, but we didn’t expect anything less! It was a great day, enjoyed by all, and hats off to those that do manage to keep to the train schedule and complete the trail in one.

Mike & Julie at pub number 3 in Marsden

With a variety of Ale Trails up and down the country, this is definitely one to add to your list, the beautiful scenery an added bonus. In the meantime, you can find a pub near you that serves real ale here: www.useyourlocal.com/real-ale-pubs; or use our search filters for Cask Marque accredited pubs and CAMRA members.