Mary Dowey’s Bottle of the Week: An English White That is the Essence of Summer

Ready for something completely different? This English white wine is the essence of summer …

Denbies English White Lily 2018

Climate change is rarely associated with positive effects but occasionally it should be. Champagne, a region once so chilly and damp that grapes might easily fail to ripen fully, has seen a dramatic rise in good vintages. And England’s thriving, fast-expanding wine industry would barely exist if sunshine across the south of the country hadn’t become more reliable.

Still white and sparkling wines are its greatest success – some of the latter impressive but startlingly expensive. Thankfully English White Lily, a still wine, comes at a reasonable price and the 2018 version is especially delicious, reflecting the ripening potential of last year’s heatwave summer.

This is a feather-light, lively, palate-cleansing charmer with crisp apple and citrus notes and a likeable little hint of earthiness. Besides making a delicious summer aperitif it will be a perfect partner for light first courses, particularly sushi, ceviche and salads with a citrussy tang. If you’re entertaining, it should certainly provide a talking point: even wine-savvy guests may be bemused to discover the grapes involved are Ortega, Müller-Thurgau, Seyval Blanc, Bacchus and Reichensteiner. Not quite as familiar as Sauvignon Blanc… 

Denbies, the producer of White Lily, is England’s biggest wine estate by far, planted on the chalky North Downs in 1986 and now with 265 hectares of vineyard. If you happen to be in or near Surrey this summer, it would be an interesting place for an outing – perhaps even an overnight stay as the estate now includes a hotel and a simpler B&B as well as an award-winning restaurant. Wine tours are also on offer; see for more details. The nearby town of Dorking is famous for antiques.

Alcohol: 11% 

From selected Marks & Spencer outlets, €15


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