England’s Vineyards All a Sparkle | Académie du Vin Library

England’s Vineyards All a Sparkle

Date: 1 February, 2023 / Author: Cindy-Marie Harvey

Image of a sculpture, Reading Hare by Clare Trenchard
Reading Hare sculpture by Clare Trenchard in Steven Spurrier's Dorset garden. Photo credit: Lucy Pope

From the beautiful vineyards of Cornwall and Dorset to the rolling downlands of Hampshire and Sussex, Watercress, Willow and Wine by Cindy-Marie Harvey celebrates some of England’s finest wine producers and local produce. This book is a journey through a selection of Cindy-Marie’s favourite English wine estates and recipes, illustrated by South Downs artist, Chloe Robertson.

Cindy-Marie Harvey is a wine expert and owner of Love Wine Food Ltd, a private wine tour company. She has travelled continually for almost 25 years, visiting iconic wine estates across Italy, France, New Zealand, South America, Portugal and many more. In this book, she turns her attention to English wine and produce on her very own doorstep as more producers across the UK welcome wine loving visitors to their estates.

Out of the 850-plus (and swiftly growing in number) vineyards in the UK, it was incredibly hard for her to narrow down the choice to just 33 wine estates to showcase in the book. However, one that was instantly marked for inclusion was Bride Valley in Dorset, set up by Académie du Vin Library founder, Steven Spurrier, with his wife Bella, in the picturesque village of Litton Cheney in Dorset.

Cindy-Marie was lucky enough to join with Steven in hosting many wine tours around Europe, from Burgundy to Tuscany. Naturally, they always caught up on news of the home vineyard. A truly idyllic place to visit, Steven and Bella’s first vines came from one of the most revered nurseries in Burgundy; they were planted on the chalky Kimmeridgian soil of the Jurassic Coast and produced their first harvest in 2011, which was released for sale in 2014. Today, Bride Valley creates a delightful range of wines, both sparkling and still, including its flagship Blanc de Blancs. Unusually for England, it also makes a charming Crémant, which is featured in Cindy-Marie’s book and paired with a recipe for irresistible cheese sablé biscuits. Visitors will also enjoy the wonderful sculptures dotted around, such as the magnificent Sleeping Hare by Clare Trenchard.

Watercress, Willow and Wine combines Cindy-Marie’s wine expertise with her love of food. She believes in the Slow Food philosophy (‘Good, Clean and Fair’), which has led her to discover new artisan producers. She explains: ‘Getting to know in-depth the local and regional foods of Europe and beyond due to my travelling, oddly enough brought me closer to seeking out fabulous British foods at home.’

English wine has a blossoming reputation for world-class sparkling wines, and as well as these, the book shows how food-friendly English still wines are – from enticing Pinot Blancs to seductive Pinot Noirs. Cindy-Marie believes that there is a growing awareness of the versatility of fizz; a realization that it is not only great as an aperitif but can be enjoyed throughout a meal – from enjoying complex Blancs de Noirs with mackerel to savouring crisp sparkling rosés with hazelnut roulade.

Broken down chapter by chapter into some of England’s finest wine regions, the book also shines a light on these home-grown delicacies. Wine from each vineyard is paired with a recipe to complement it. As Cindy-Marie explains: ‘For me, food and wine are intrinsically linked, each having the capacity to make the other even better when matched well… This is the golden age of discovery for wine lovers and foodies alike!’

Watercress, Willow and Wine is available directly from the author here.

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