English red wine secures gold medal at International Wine Challenge

An English red wine has scooped a coveted gold medal at the International Wine Challenge for the first time.

The Red Miller 2018 is produced in Kent by Hush Heath, which used 100% Pinot Meunier grapes.

This grape is generally used along with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to make sparkling wine and it is rarely seen as a key component in still red wine.

Yet winemaker Owen Elias dazzled the expert judges at the IWC with a “supremely elegant” red from a single plot of extremely ripe Pinot Meunier grapes.

Elias said: “Pinot Meunier is rarely seen as a still red anywhere in the world. Here we have a delicate and aromatic wine which will be extremely interesting as it develops over the next two years.”

Just 5,000 bottles of the limited-edition Red Miller 2018 are available, but it is interesting to see the potential of such wines in the south of England.

England is generally renowned for sparklers and it came third overall in this category at the IWC, with the third largest medal haul.

France led the way, followed by Italy, but England secured 26 medals for its sparkling wines. There were two golds, for the Hattingley Valley rosé 2015 from Hampshire and the Oxney Classic 2016 from Sussex.

Only France secured more gold medals for its sparkling wines, with three. In total, England earned 47 medals.

IWC director Chris Ashton said: “We’re thrilled to be able to award England its first International Wine Challenge Gold medal for a red wine. England has been gaining attention for its sparkling wines for some time, so it’s great to see a broader range of wines on the radar.

“Kent in particular led the way with its still wines, while Hampshire and Sussex carried the torch for the sparkling wines. But it’s still early days for the UK wine industry, and we’re excited about watching the continued progress of our wine industry.”

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