DRINKING CULTURE: The Future of English Wine
By Michael Smith, Borough Wines
I have seen the future of English wine, and it’s up the road in Peasmarsh. It’s natural, it’s experimental, and it is delicious in ways you haven’t tasted yet.
Tillingham Wines are combining the ancient and the avant-garde to create startling new definitions of what English wine can be. They’re not trying to be Champagne, and they’re not trying to be some off-dry, Jack-in-the-Green, time-warped curiosity – they’re charting unknown territory, experimenting with radical techniques like fermenting traditional Kentish grape varieties in big clay amphora buried under the ground, an ancient method for making “orange wine” used in Georgia and the near east since the time of Alexander the Great and before.
The wine that comes out of the ground after this is bright, juicy, hazy stuff with the chunky kind of tannins you’re maybe more used to tasting when biting into green apple skin – juicy wine with a pleasingly mouth-drying complexity that feels like it’s come straight from the farm, straight from the earth and all its goodness. Tillingham Wines taste like they’re straight from the soil of this blessed little plot on the Kent/Sussex border, instead of wines that taste like they’re from endless aisles of supermarket shelves, wines from anywhere, from nowhere.
Most of this stuff gets snapped up by London’s most forward-thinking restaurants. We get it in when we can. If you see it on our shelves you should buy it.
• Borough Wines, 34 Robertson Street, America Ground, Hastings
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