Readers may recall a thorough examination of the history of English wine here a few months ago – chiefly because the subject tends to come up as a contrarian climate talking point every now and again. The bottom line from that post was that the English wine industry is currently thriving and has a geographical extent and quality levels that are unprecedented in recorded history. So whether vineyards are a good proxy for climate or not, you certainly can’t use the supposed lack of present day English vineyards in any serious discussion about climate….
“The Romans wrote about growing wine grapes in Britain in the first century,” says Avery, “and then it got too cold during the Dark Ages. Ancient tax records show the Britons grew their own wine grapes in the 11th century, during the Medieval Warming, and then it got too cold during the Little Ice Age. It isn’t yet warm enough for wine grapes in today’s Britain. Wine grapes are among the most accurate and sensitive indicators of temperature and they are telling us about a cycle. They also indicate that today’s warming is not unprecedented.”
Hmmm…. so where did that bottle of Chapel Down in my fridge come from? (thanks Dad!) Or the winners of the ‘Best Sparkling Wine’ for the last two years at the International Wine and Spirit Competition? This is of course a trivial point, but it demonstrates (once again) that our contrarian friends don’t even have a semblence of a desire to get it right. The lure of a talking point clearly trumps the desire for accuracy.
In vino veritas (though not in this case).
Update: We had the Chapel Down Flint Dry last night. Fruity, hints of apple and pear and one of better whites I’ve had in a while. Highly recommended!