The Jugged Hare, a very decent pub near Moorgate, pulls together a swish dinner for its city punters, one of their gastronomic monthly events, and invites Stuart from The Bolney Wine Estate to come along.
Settled in the country lanes of deepest Sussex, this family vineyard is in the process of upping its acreage, hopefully to give Anglophiles, who like to eat and drink local but more often than not have to go for imported wine, the chance to take advantage of what's on their doorstep.
Five courses, five wines and my favourite is the Bolney Cuvée Rosé. Think great rosé champagne and you're about there. The Bolney Bubbly is pretty great too; white, light, fizzy and distinctive.
Special events aside, it's good to know which restaurants stock English wines for those who want to keep it British when eating and drinking out.
The recently opened grEAT British restaurant in Mayfair has an extensive English-only wine list which includes one of the aforementioned Bolney gems. Diners eat food produced in Britain and drink English wine from Kent to Cornwall and quite a few counties in between. Wiltshire wine sounds like a novelty, but the reasonably priced and fruity Avonleigh Organic Rosé definitely deserves a taste or a large swig.
Further west on the Fulham Road, The Penny Black restaurant in Chelsea also focuses on high quality British food, Beef Wellington being a favourite. While the majority of wines are shipped in, the Nyetimber Rosé from the Nyetimber Winery in West Sussex mixes pinot noir and chardonnay for a real fizzy treat.
Back in town, Roast restaurant above Borough Market is getting serious with its wine suppliers and commissions custom-made English wines from the well established Chapel Down Winery in Kent as well as buying in the winery's own blends. The Roast Chapter 2 Sparkling wine holds its own on this AA recognised world wine list.
And right on the river, the wine list at Butlers Wharf Chop House restaurant in Shad Thames includes some of England's best sparkling and white wines which sit ably alongside the Old World wines. The Ortega from the Biddenden Vineyards in Kent is a fruity, dry and well priced white.
Lastly, Vinoteca; they take their food and wine seriously in their three bar and wine shop combos in Soho, Farringdon and Marylebone. The Three Choirs Willowbrook wine from Gloucestershire is white and fresh with pear and peach overtones and meets the strict remit to get on Vinoteca's wine list of over 300 worldwide wines. Find what you like and buy it online at Vinoteca's award winning online shop.
For further oenophilic inspiration check out some London's best wine bars.
Image courtesy of luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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