English wine: ‘potential’ Photo by Camel Valley Vineyard
The Rhone veteran is convinced English wine has a future and he is actively looking for land – but not in the more orthodox vineyard areas of Kent or Sussex where the majority of English wine is made.
As he said, ‘I like to be a pioneer. I’m not interested in limestone – the roots don’t spread far enough and it doesn’t give interesting minerality to the wine.’
He would not divulge which region he is interested in, ‘as once that is known, the prices will go up.’
Chapoutier said he is ‘sure there is potential’ in English wine but it must find its ‘grape of reference’.
While he acknowledged the quality of English sparkling wine, he said that it would always be compared to Champagne and would be seen to be second best.
He said that he would be investigating the potential of the Swiss aromatic variety Chasselas, which he believes is very well-suited to the English climate and terroir.
Chapoutier has just released a new range of wines from Alsace, including grand cru Rieslings. He also makes wine in the the south of France, Australia and Portugal.