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March 2019 Wine Highlights from London Urban Wineries

How does a wine made in London ๐Ÿท taste like? After tasting 10 of them, we know: delicious & worth a try! ๐Ÿ‘

We at UnscrewMe are still on our journey to explore London wines. As highlighted previously, there are now a couple of urban wineries in London. To better understand the similarities and differences of all the London wine producers, we did again what we did before with other widely unknown wines, we organised a tasting for a group of friends.

Due to the number of London urban wineries, we ended up with a varied lineup of ten wines. Since we did not want to include any more wines, but still wanted to feature sparkling wine, white wine, rosรฉ wine and red wine, we decided to kickoff with the 2016 London Sparkling Brut by Forty Hall Vineyard and bridge between four whites and four reds with the rather unusual Chateau Tooting Grand Vin rosรฉ.

Thankfully, a friend who probably knows much more about wine than I do, moderated a meaningful vote to determine our favourites amongst the white wines and the red wines. The voting followed a very simple model, one person, one vote for each white and red wines. With a sample size of about 15 this verdict is by no means representative, but it was an entertaining end to the main part of the tasting.

What wines we tasted Regarding the white wines, all bottles were made from English grapes. Three wines were based on the Chardonnay variety, giving us the opportunity to compare English Chardonnays. The final white was a Bacchus.

It was a close competition with just one vote separating the first from the second place. First came the Renegade Bacchus, my personal favourite, second the London Cru Chancery Lane Chardonnay, a personal favourite too.

For the red wines, we had three Pinot Noirs, but based on grapes from three different European countries, plus one Barbera.

Only a single vote separated the second from the third for the reds, with the Renegade Pinot Noir being the clear winner and the London Cru Barbican Barbera coming second.

1st favourite white wine โ€“ Renegade 2017 Bacchus

  • Wine: 2017 Bacchus (Qvevri/Tank Blend)
  • Producer: Renegade London Wine
  • Region: Herefordshire, England, UK ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
  • Story:
    This exciting blend of two different winemaking techniques uses the white Bacchus grape variety which is well suited to grow in cooler climates. It was one of my personal favourite wines of the entire tasting: refreshing, smooth and yet also a nice texture.
    โ€Aromatic, floral, zesty and complex. This is the king of English white wine varieties.โ€

2nd favourite white wine โ€“ London Cru 2017 Chancery Lane English Chardonnay

  • Wine: 2017 Chancery Lane English Chardonnay
  • Producer: London Cru
  • Region: Sussex, England, UK ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
  • Story:
    They aim for a โ€œChablis-styleโ€ Chardonnay, which incidentally is exactly the kind of Chardonnay that pleases my palate. Overall, this wine is crisp and refreshing with balanced fruit characteristics, just a lovely wine to enjoy at any time, with or without food.
    โ€Aromas of fresh green apples, pears and a touch of freshly-baked bread. Light and delicate in the mouth, with soft, rounded texture and a long, mineral finish.โ€

1st favourite red wine โ€“ Renegade: 2017 Pinot Noir

  • Wine: 2017 Pinot Noir
  • Producer: Renegade London Wine
  • Region: Lombardy, North West, Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น
  • Story:
    For me, this Pinot Noir hit the sweet spot: relatively light, combining beautiful fruit with a bit of structure.
    โ€A touch of new French Oak. More funky. More characterful. Less classic.โ€

2nd favourite red wine โ€“ London Cru: 2015 Barbican Barbera

  • Wine: 2015 Barbican Barbera
  • Producer: London Cru
  • Region: North West, Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น
  • Story:
    I was surprised about how much I liked this one. Initially, I added it to the tasting to give some of my friends who like full-bodied red wines something they might appreciate a bit more than the lighter Pinot Noirs. However, in the end I myself was one of the people who liked it most of all. It had more body than the other wines, well-defined fruit flavours and not too strong tannins.
    โ€Bright and pure, with brambly fruit flavours; lovely freshness and balance; medium-bodied.โ€

The other favourites

Of course, all the other wines we tasted also get an honourable mention, not least because it was a tight vote and every wine was someoneโ€™s favourite, so really, all wines won! ๐Ÿ†

The other two white wines we tasted were the 2017 English Chardonnay by Vagabond Urban Winery from Surrey in the UK ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง and the 2017 Chardonnay by Blackbook Winery from Essex in the UK ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง.

The 2017 Pinot Noir by Vagabond Urban Winery from Limoux in Languedoc-Roussillon region in the South of France ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท almost came second. The third Pinot Noir we tasted was the 2017 Pinot Noir by Blackbook Winery from Essex in the UK ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง.

Sharing is Caring

Weโ€™re always happy to hear about new restaurants with great wine lists, newly opened wine bars in London or just a nice wine you discovered recently.

If you have any recommendations, please let us know! Either comment on here or get in touch via social media through Twitter @unscrewmeapp, Facebook UnscrewMe or Instagram @unscrewmeapp.

Over the coming weeks we will continue to focus on some of the urban wineries in London and the wines they produce.

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First published in April 2019.
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