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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

'English wine is no longer the joke it once was,' says Owen Elias, winemaker at Chapel Down in Kent, talking to JONATHAN RAY. Ray is keeping Elias company on a visit to Jean-Philippe Archambaud, winemaker at Simonnet-Febvre in Chablis, but ends up feeling a little out of his depth once the chatter turns to rainfall, sunlight hours, sugar levels and acidity. Although he's back in the frame when the tasting of 2003 and 2004 Chablis begins: 'The wines differ across the quality levels, but their hallmark remains a soft, gentle butteriness with elusive hints of honey and an appealing freshness.' A return match is on the cards for next week, with France putting England to the test. Wines of the week include 2004 Vergelegen Chardonnay, South Africa (7.99 as part of a case; Majestic).

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