Sussex has been in the headlines recently in UK wine news. It was the biggest winner at the WINGB Awards on June 24 with 61 medals. The county has also recently won its Protected Decision of Origin (PDO) for wine, a quality guarantee such as the French Epilation d’Origen Control (AOC) that confirms the authenticity of bottles from high-value locations such as champagne. .
But at the moment the UK’s most notable wine sector, especially when it comes to food avoidance, is Kent. (She won 60 medals at the WINGB Awards.)
For the past 20 years, Kent “the” Garden of England “in the southeast of the country, famous for its ancient cathedral city of Canterbury as well as its beach resorts, has been expanding its wine business. In 2015, Patrick McGrath, managing director of UK-based wine company Hatch Mansfield, launched Domain Everymond in partnership with Champagne Tettinger, purchasing a 69-hectare (171-acre) Apple farm for 1.5 million ($ 1.83 million). By sowing millions of pounds. . It was the first time a champagne house had bought land in England with the intention of making world-class sparkling wine.
Now, McGraw is betting on the growth of its winery and wine tourism for Kent in general. Preliminary results are promising. Sales of English and Welsh wine rose from 5.5 million bottles in 2019 to 9.3 million bottles in 2021, and visits to UK vineyards and wineries increased by 57% in 2020 over the previous year.
Domaine Evremond is one of eight wineries that make up the Wine Garden of England, a collaboration aimed at creating a Kent Wine Trail. The estate’s new, state-of-the-art winery is nearing completion — “We hope it will be ready for next year’s harvest,” says McGraw — and will offer tours and flavors of vineyards.
Hatch Mansfield chose Kent, McGrath says, “partly because it’s four hours from champagne to home, but mainly because of the weather and the chalk soil.” The estate is named after the 17th-century French writer Charles de Saint-Evermond, who helped popularize champagne in Britain and was buried in the corner of Westminster Abbey poets. The first vintage is already bottled and ripening in the cellars.
Walton Farm, which also produces craft cider, released its first wine vintage in 2021 to great acclaim. Its pét-nat Chardonnay 2020 has won a silver medal at this year’s WineGB Awards.
After a fine wine, fine restaurants are commonplace, and Kent’s food scene is growing. Take Bridge Arms near Canterbury, where chef Dan Smith and wife Tasha earned a Michelin star earlier this year. It is the younger brother of Fordwich Arms, a few miles north, and is proud of being a star; Smith was named Restaurant of the Year at the 2022 National Restaurant Awards. His wine list includes Kentish wineries Gusborne and Simpson’s vintage.
At another popular restaurant, Pig at Bridge Place in Canterbury, head sommelier Luke Harbor is a promoter not only for Kent’s wines but also for the new, more open access to county wineries. “The champagne model used to be very common – everything behind closed doors – but many wineries are now adopting a kind of napa ‘seller door’ approach and providing a better experience for visitors.” Many wineries offer tours and tastings that can be booked online, and a growing number of accommodations can be offered. Confirming the trend, Airbnb has recently launched a vineyard category on its UK site.
Below are some places to sample Kent’s best food and wine – big and small, old and new.
Where to eat
Fordwich Weapons – Former Clove Club chef Dan Smith and his wife, pastry chef Tash, took over the Fordwich Arms Pub five years ago. Location still provides a nice pint, but it’s their menu that wins the acclaim. Start with malden oysters with caviar, hollandaise, and local rapeseed oil (£ 6 each); Head to Blackface Lamb’s Saddle with Nettles (35); And finish with Tash’s fabulous British Orange and Chocolate Jaffa Cake. The Bridge Arms duo’s 2021 achievement has taken a similar path: a delicious, intelligently compiled menu and another Michelin star.
Angela / Doris – Angela Margetia is a great example of the Renaissance: wonderful fresh fish cooked in a small but powerful kitchen and served to admirable crowds of people outside the city on sharp, patterned, recycled plastic tables. Monkeyfish and clams for £ 21 or shrimp and garlic butter for £ 28 combine well with a handful of Kentish wine; Right around the corner, Little Sister Restaurant Doris offers a seafood bar — Cods Row Divided Eggs, maybe, or a raw red mallet with blood oranges and peppers – and wine to carry.
Players – Stephen Harris’s “Grooty Rundown Pub by the Sea”, as he once described it, has become not only a symbol of Kent’s growing restaurant scene, but also a symbol of Britain’s coastline and food revival. Is Harris serves exceptional seafood – slip souls grilled in seaweed butter, or cod roasted with chorizo and black olives – as well as meat, especially local monkshell lamb, simply roasted and served with mint sauce. The £ 70 flavor menu is a great deal.
Pigs at the bridge site – Three miles south of Canterbury, the eastern outpost of Robin and Judy Hutson’s messy-chic hotel group is in a magnificent red-brick, Queen Anne Manor House that once resounded with the sound of a Led Zeppelin party. Nowadays, another bucolic atmosphere prevails: the “25-mile menu” comes from local suppliers and the kitchen wall garden. The Dungeon Code’s £ 28 waist is shared with Asparagus and Hollandize, while wood-powered flatbreads are topped with combinations such as home-smoked salmon and fennel. The wine list includes two dozen of Kent’s finest vintages.
West House – Drummer to Chef Graham Garrett (entitled his cookbook Sex and Drugs and Sausage Rolls) opened West House in 2002, now re-established as a restaurant with four strange bedrooms. Garrett’s cooking is sure and consistent: offering raw peas from Rye Bay, raw scallops with crisp pancakes and ham broth, as well as roasted waffles of Romney Marsh Lamb with Shepherd’s Pie, purple sprouting broccoli, and anchovies. In a select list, English wines are mostly from across the border in East Sussex. The set menu is £ 55 for four courses and £ 75 for five courses.
Where to drink
Yates Court – Susannah Ricky’s restoration of her property near Merworth, west of the county, is finally producing four single-vertebral queues. All are still wines — Pinot Munier, Pinot Grease, Pinot Blanc, and Batch — and all have been named in tribute to Ricky’s second career as a race horse owner. For example, at Node and Loose Rain, both won silver medals at the 2022 WINGB Awards. Visitors can buy a bottle or two and a charcuterie platter from the Sailor Door shop and settle down at a picnic table on the paddock lawn with magnificent views of the vineyards. Tours are available.
Chapel down – Chapel Down is the largest wine producer in England, with more than 950 acres under the vine. Located just south of Tenterden, the winery offers a variety of tours; The deluxe experience starts at 130 and ends with a tutorial tasting of the estate’s wines and a three-course lunch and other wines. Chapel Down’s glowing Kiwis have won many awards (including 10 WINGB medals this year), but still the wine – in particular, the almost burgundian kit Coty Chardone – excites the most connoisseurs.
Westwell – Wine Westwell’s property is just below the Pilgrim’s Way used by Canterbury travelers for centuries. The peligram, an old word for pilgrimage, is named after one of Westwell’s finest classics, but there is more to this estate than just fizz. It also makes fragrant ortega white from grapes — if a pilgrimage to Westwell is impossible, try it at Margaret’s Angela — and experiment with all contemporary winemaking issues: skin contact, amphorae, stomach-nets, wild fur And even bottles of sweets. Tours and flavors can be booked online, and cheese and charcuterie plates are available.
Terlingam Vineyard – In 2011, Graham and Lorna Wilkes, both natives of South Africa, bought the Terlingam estate just north of Folkestone. Since then, they have grown grapes and their wines – some Fijian, some still – have been critically acclaimed, albeit in small quantities. They also produce an award-winning gin that is equipped with a splash of their batches of wine. Tour and Savad are run by the couple’s three daughters; A short distance away are three large, en-suite bedrooms.
Gusborne Estate – Gusborne’s range of sparkling wines has received more praise than any other English winery; A couple of four basic cuvees and a “late disgorged” version (à la Dom Pérignon). There are still some great wines, especially Guinevere Chardonnay, Magnum. The tours are well organized. Afterwards, take one of the Gusborne hampers to the picnic area at the top of Boot Hill Vineyard, open a bottle of Gusborne Brute Reserve, and chew on local cheese, charcuterie and fruit while watching Romney Marsh.
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