8 Perfect English & Welsh Wines for Harry & Meghan’s Wedding
With English and Welsh wines beating champagne in tastings and the Royal Family’s support for our local wines, how will Harry and Meghan be celebrating and what will be the fizz of choice at the wedding?
The Queen has her own vineyard at Windsor Castle, carefully tended by Tony Laithwaite with wines made by Ridgeview. It’s early days, though, and quantities are small with the first vintage of just 3,000 bottles selling out in no time, so we’re guessing they will need some others.
There are more than 500 vineyards in the UK, of which around half can be visited. The majority of production goes to sparkling wine and we have a number of suggestions that would fit with Harry and Meghan’s lifestyle and interests.
Forty Hall 2015 Vintage London Brut (£28.99) comes not only from the first commercial scale vineyard in London since the middle ages, but is part of a charitable enterprise that champions quality, sustainability, health, wellbeing and community involvement, tapping perfectly into Harry & Meghan’s concerns to make the world a better place.
With Windsor a mooted location for the wedding, Harrow & Hope’s 2014 Vintage Brut Rosé (£30) from nearby Marlow would keep the wine miles down and having won Best in Class English Vintage Rosé at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships, it has an excellent pedigree. With wines made by Tony Laitwaite’s son Henry, there’s a connection there, too.
Speculation suggests that the couple’s new titles will be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex so they may well want a wine from there. Charles Palmer’s 2013 Blanc de Blancs (£35) showcases a style that England does particularly well. With the family line dating back to Ralph Palmer born in 1275 and the family home a 16th Century Manor House, there would be plenty to make Harry feel at home if they decide to pop down and collect the wine from the cellar door.
Meghan has talked much of gender equality, so we have to pick a wine by a female winemaker. Who else but Emma Rice, reigning joint winemaker of the year? Hattingley Valley’s King’s Cuvée (£80) is the obvious choice. With a limited release and a Decanter Gold award, it would be a delicious choice.
As a thoroughly modern couple taking over a family business and moving the brand along with the times, Harry and Meghan have a lot in common with Augusta and Robert of Raimes English Sparkling. Their Raimes 2014 Blanc de Noirs with its gold medal in the Global Sparkling Masters and its elegant styling would suit the occasion perfectly.
The royal family can incur criticism for over-spending, so how about a sparkling wine from the producers of one of the world’s best value still wines – the newly released Vintage Reserve from Norfolk’s Winbirri ticks that box, and comes from East Anglia, an area that William & Catherine are fond of too.
If the groom’s father is footing the bill, then something Welsh and organic is a must, which makes it Ancre Hill. We’d go for the Ancre Hill Sparkling Rosé 2010, a year when the quality of the fruit was exceptional. The very pale salmon pink colour looks so elegant; ripe citrus fruit, wild strawberries & cream on the palate with hints of vanilla.
Our final choice follows on from Harry’s flying role in the forces with another rosé, 2015 Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rosé Brut, (£26.95) an award winner year after year, made by Sam Lindo, whose father Bob set up the vineyard and was a pilot in the RAF. Really individual English style in the best possible way, just like the couple themselves.
All of these wines are available directly from the cellar door – collecting the wines directly from the vineyard really adds to the enjoyment in our view.
Lest you think the groom is taking over, we’d be happy for Meghan’s American heritage to provide some good red wines and her recent time in Canada could inspire a delicious dessert wine.
If you are getting married next year, then all of these are worth considering and did you know you can get married at a vineyard, too? Our directory lists more than 30 vineyards that can host a wedding.
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