Rest in England with a glass of wine. English wine – exotic product
Today we will talk about alcoholic beverages. Nice subject, isn’t it? I myself love, a sinful deed… But not keen. I advise you. Recently invited to the feast “Beaujolais Nouveau” – the traditional day of the first opening of bottles of French wine “Beaujolais” new harvest – but I did not go. To be honest: first of all, because I do not really like Beaujolais. Very average, in my opinion, the wine is too expensive for wines of this level, which became popular only thanks to the brilliant marketing strategy.
As regular listeners of the radio magazine “Europe and Europeans” could notice, even when we take traditional subjects for it, all the same we talk about things not banal. So let’s leave aside the Beaujolais. And we begin not with French wines, and English. Yes–there is such a miracle in the world!
It is difficult to imagine a more English picture: neatly trimmed thick bushes frame the narrow road winding between the hills, on the lawns near the white cottages solid men in tweed jackets and with thick whiskers play cricket… One thing only seems surprising – vineyards on the hills. They seem like a miracle in England, just a few dozen kilometers South of London. Dorking – the so-called town, considered the center of this area of England and today is so famous that here recently visited even the Queen Elizabeth. The biggest vineyards – about a hundred acres here owned by the family of Dennis. The name is familiar to not too many people in the UK, although the wine on the label of which it is written, you can already buy today in many supermarkets in the country. But still English wine remains, so to speak, an exotic product – including in England itself.
Winery Denbies is located forty kilometers from the British capital. In recent years, this area has become one of the favorite vacation spots tired of the bustle of the city Londoners. Since the mid-nineties, property prices in and around Dorking have doubled. A good one-bedroom apartment costs about a quarter of a million pounds – almost half a million dollars. “Those who buy such an apartment will not go to the local pub in the evenings to drink beer. He will sit at home and drink expensive wine. I hope that our” – says another local winemaker, Harrington, in the vineyards which visited the Queen.
Of course, whiskey and beer remains the favorite alcoholic drink of the British. However, wine is becoming more popular. And if in the sixties and seventies engaged in winemaking in the British Isles, just a few people (and then, as a hobby), now winemakers–professionals who earn their living (albeit not too much) here is becoming more and more. After all, there are traditions – they’ve just been forgotten. Near Dorking, archaeologists discovered the remains of an ancient Roman press, which made wine in the first century ad. Conquerors–Normans also appreciated strong drinks from grapes grown in the hills of southern England.
But that was a long time ago. And in the fifties of the twentieth century, a retired officer sir Salisbury–Jones, who decided at his leisure to do winemaking, had to start everything literally from scratch. There were no vines in England when sir Salisbury Jones decided to break up a vineyard on his estate near Portsmouth. He brought the vine from France, where he fought and served for several years after the end of world war II.
Dorking farmers, of course, could not afford such expensive Hobbies. They began to be engaged in winemaking from purely practical reasons. Family Dennis, for example, until the mid-eighties specialized in growing pigs. But it was bad, and then a familiar geologist, analyzing the composition of the soil on the site Denbis, said that it is slightly different from the composition of the soil, for example, in the French province of champagne – the birthplace of the famous sparkling wines. Of course, only one rich in limestone land for vineyards is not enough. Sunny days in southern England less than in France, here a few colder and the climate, although mild, but changeable. So I had to look for special grape varieties – more stable than the French. As a result, we stopped at the German varieties: “Mueller–turgau”, “Reichensteiner” and others.
A significant portion of its products Denboy sell on the spot. Special tours are organized for tourists who are lucky to the top of the hill SUV with an open body. Tasting takes place in the cellars. The winery has a small restaurant with great views. In General, it is clear why only a few tourists leave here empty-handed. The benefit of wine prices are relatively low – from six to ten pounds.
Today in England – about four hundred wineries. As a rule, these are family farms. Only a few of them own vineyards with an area of more than ten hectares. The majority is limited to three hectares. English wines are sold almost exclusively in the British Isles. However, now some of them have already started to enter the world market. Unexpected for many success began to enjoy, for example, “Sparkling Wine” – sparkling wines. Perhaps a role was played in the Royal court: today for official receptions, which take place at Buckingham Palace usually serves English sparkling wine not French champagne. As for the popularity among ordinary consumers, then, of course, there is the fact that English wines are much cheaper than French champagne. One of the reasons: the land in Sussex and Kent are much less than in champagne, that is, less rent and, ultimately, the cost of production. Well, to taste the English sparkling wines are only slightly inferior to the “real” champagne. At least that’s what the English think.
But leave on the conscience of the British comparison of their domestic sparkling wines and French champagne. All these things are subjective. In the same way, the opinion that I will Express now is subjective. The most delicious moonshine that I have tried in my life, I drank in one of the villages of Sumy region of Ukraine. No elite vodka, plastered on all sides with excise stamps, can not be compared with it. But they say that the brew, which is being driven (and very professionally) in the Austrian village of the Counts of Tyrol, the better.
The village of Stantz would be no different from other Tyrolean villages if it were not for the rows of fruit trees that surround it that go beyond the horizon. Best location (Counts located on the southern Sunny slope of the mountain and the summer is blowing warm winds from the pass) and the long tradition made the village a real fruit capital of the region. There is, however, one snag: to take out of here the collected fruit is very difficult and expensive: the nearest highway winds a narrow snake far below. The exit was found many years ago: residents of Shtets began to drive out of apples, pears, draining moonshine. This does not mean that only drunken alcoholics live here. Moonshine, of course, was enough to survive the long, cold winter, so boring in the mountains. But most of it was for sale. And the quality of this fruit schnapps has always been excellent: artisanal way, in the cellar or in the kitchen, no one did and does not, all use industrial distillers.
Six hundred residents in Stance today 65 distilleries. “Production” of the smallest of them – five hundred bottles of schnapps a year. Well, the largest and most famous distillery, schnapps which were awarded several prizes of international competitions, owned by Christoph Kessler. His distillery is located on the edge of the village, and in the heart of it, in the house, which was built about six hundred years ago, is a tasting room. Here you can try not only traditional plum brandy, grushovka, currant and Apple schnapps, but also more exotic spirits, to put it mildly, not too typical for mountain Tyrol – banana, tangerine, carrot schnapps. Kessler distillery uses the latest technology and the most modern equipment. Fruit mixed with yeast first roam in plastic tanks. At the next stage of the production process, the bones are removed. Then the resulting mass is fed into cooled tanks, and then distilled and distilled. The whole process is controlled by measuring instruments from a Central console equipped with modern computers.
Of course, it’s not just about hardware and computer programs. Kessler looks personally, from what raw materials it is made schnapps. If earlier, at home, brew in Stance cooked mainly from palanki, now take only fresh fruits. Its long been lacking, and Kessler buys an additional few dozen tons in other regions of Austria and Italy. All this, of course, affects the price. Some of the noblest spirits that Kessler offers are worth up to fifty euros per bottle.
Distilling (or, if you want, brewing) has a long tradition in Austria. Officially, it was legalized by the Empress Maria Theresa, who allowed peasants to process fruits from their own gardens into strong drinks. But the peasants did it, of course, before, not caring about the state monopoly.
I can’t take it anymore. I’m gonna go grab a drink. Just a drink.