Wine has long been present in modern society, it can be seen paired with dinner, a glass (or two) after work and appears at any and most occasions. Having supplied us with many varieties of their delicious wines and a popular favourite in the restaurants across the Elite Hotels group, we ask the experts at Bolney Wine some questions behind the nation’s favourite tipple!
- Firstly, can you tell us a bit about Bolney Wines?
We are one of England’s oldest and most beautiful vineyards, located in the heart of Sussex. A three-generation family business led by myself, we have been guided by nature since 1972 when our first vines were planted. Along with our expert team, we produce a wide-ranging portfolio of award-winning still and sparkling English wines. Alongside our wine, visitors can enjoy a great day out at Bolney Wine Estate with various tours, a vineyard trail, café restaurant, wine bar and Cellar Door shop.
- What do you think makes wine such a popular and staple drink?
How has it lasted so many years when other alcoholic drink trends seem to come and go? The variety and different styles of wine make it such an interesting and thought-provoking topic. There is so much to learn about wine: how wine is made, where it is made and the different grape varieties involved. There are over 10,000 grape varieties around the world. Wine is also made to match with food and this gives it an enduring relevance. In many countries such as France and Italy, wine is drunk as part of the meal, not just a mere accompaniment. Sparkling wines are also known as celebratory wines and many parties and special occasions are celebrated with this style of wines.
- At Elite Hotels we always celebrate English Wine Week. Would you agree that English Wine has seen a rise in popularity?
Absolutely! People are enjoying English wines more and more as the industry is growing. Wine tourism is a dominant part of the South East area, as the region is ideal for growing grapes due to having the warmest weather in the UK. Climate and terrain dictate everything. To our advantage, the soil on our 104-acre estate is sandstone, which drains well and provides good mineral pick-up. It’s great soil for growing vines. We’ve grown from being pioneers into being leading lights in the thriving English Wine industry, and it’s exciting to see English wine gaining more popularity year on year.
- For a complete beginner, how can someone start to learn the art of pairing wines with specific food?
The principal is to try to balance the food and the wine so that neither of them overpowers the other. It is important to try to match the weight of the food with the weight of the wine. A full-bodied wine is usually a good match with meatier canapés, whilst lightweight food like poultry and fish are complemented by more delicate wines. Salty foods are enhanced and balanced by a hint of sweetness and work very well with acidity. Therefore, a salty nibble would work perfectly with sparkling wine. Opinion can vary greatly when it comes to matching, but certain flavours bring out the best in each other. So good luck with finding your perfect pairings and most importantly enjoy the matching process!
- Can you give us your wine recommendations for the delicious following three courses:
A Fish Starter: For this starter, we would recommend our Kew English Sparkling White. The delicious floral notes complement white peach and apple blossom flavours, leading to an elegant finish which pairs perfectly with oily fish, mackerel and seafood risotto.
Main of Red Meat: Here, we would suggest our Lychgate Red. This medium-bodied dry red wine with lovely blackcurrant aromas complements red meat dishes and is highly recommended with meals such as steak frites and meaty pasta dishes.
A Fruity Dessert: To finish, we would pair our Bolney Rose with a fruity dessert. This delicate, medium-bodied rosé has a refreshing palate of red fruits with undertones of vanilla, reminiscent of strawberry trifle which enhances the flavours of sweet fruits.
- Finally, what is in store for Bolney Wines in 2020? We officially opened our new, state-of-the-art winery this year, which will allow us to increase our production of premium still and sparkling wines by 170% within the next three-years. Built-in time for our 2019 harvest, the new winery is one part of an ambitious expansion plan, which will help us to meet our target of producing more than 300,000 bottles of premium still and sparkling wines by 2022.
Want to give the experts suggestions a try? Join us for dinner in our award-winning restaurants.