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home > food & wine dictionary > England

Food and Wine Dictionary

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The Romans are thought to have been the VITICULTURAL pioneers in England. There were also numerous vineyards producing wine during the Middle Ages, although English rule (through a royal marriage) of France's Bordeaux region from 1152 through 1453 seemed to permanently shift allegiance to the wines of Bordeaux. Most vineyards were associated with monasteries, but when Henry VIII renounced the monasteries, the vineyards were ripped up and the land was planted with other crops. It wasn't until the 1950s that English winemaking began its revival. Britain's northerly climate isn't particularly hospitable for grape growing, but the southern portions of England and Wales contain about 2,000 acres of grapevines. There are over 400 wineries (most are small) producing wine in areas like Essex, Hampshire, Hereford, Kent, Somerset, Suffolk, Sussex, and the Thames Valley. Because of its severe climate, England is white-wine country, with the most popular grapes being MÜLLER-THURGAU, SEYVAL BLANC and the German CROSSES of HUXELREBE, KERNER, ORTEGA, Reichensteiner, Schönburger, and Siegerrebe. Tiny amounts of PINOT NOIR and CHARDONNAY are also planted. English wines are generally DRY, LIGHT, CRISP, and FLOWERY with good ACIDITY. See also ENGLISH WINE and BRITISH WINE.

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Material adapted from the The New Food Lover's Companion

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on
THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

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