Sussex PDO sees UK embrace ‘modern medieval’ appellation system

medieval farmers
Pic: Ivolya Horvath, Creative Commons

The British wine industry has ignored terroir and microclimate in favour of arbitrary thousand-year-old boundaries to create its first wine appellation. Experts have described the Saxon Kingdom-based model as ‘incredibly forward looking’.

Aeljust Bollocks, high thane of the Federation of UK Drinks (FUKD) said the move to create a PDO (Place of Dubious Origin) for Sussex was long overdue.

‘It’s incredibly important to distinguish wines made by the Anglefolc from those made by Saxons,’ he told Fake Booze. ‘And let’s not even mention the Jutes.’

Pillage wine

British wine experts have said that this could be the start of a ninth-century naming trend, with wineries in the former Saxon kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex already considering filing applications for PDO status.

Currently, the Danelaw is outside the new legislation but could be included if raping and pillaging are reduced ‘to manageable levels’ and they promise not to plant Rondo.

Experts have said that the strategy is a smart move, since it ‘harks back to the golden age of UK viticulture when the country had no vines.’

Positive incomprehension

‘These kind of developments are entirely natural,’ said Bollocks. ‘Now that one percent of the world’s wine drinkers are aware that the UK even makes wine, it’s essential that we build on that engagement by confusing them so they go back to prosecco.’

FUKDUP is hoping to follow the ‘European Model’ of adding ‘two or three’ new terms, styles or sub-regions every year to retain total bafflement.

It was, they told Fake Booze, ‘all about making wine simpler and more accessible by making it pointlessly complex and exclusionary.’

Putting the ‘ill’ in logical

But not everyone is happy. Mainley Posh-Boyes of the Sparkling Producers of English Wine (SPEW) said his members questioned the logic of basing an appellation system on a series of 1400 year old kingdoms.

‘For starters, nearly all our wines are regional blends so designations like this are pointless,’ he said. ‘Secondly there’s loads of different soil and microclimates in Sussex anyway.

‘And thirdly, most Brits couldn’t find Sussex on a map so God only knows what the foreigners will make of it.

‘Though since no-one outside the UK buys the wines anyway that probably doesn’t matter.’

County line gangs

Hugh Gin-Vestment of Hedgefund Estate, which has been a driving force in the new legislation, said that everything stacked up ‘like the zeroes in my bank account’.

‘It’s amazing how a wine grown on Sussex chalk tastes completely different from one just 20 metres over the boundary line in a county that doesn’t have my winery in it,’ he said.

‘Yet a Sussex vineyard grown on clay, and one grown on chalk 80 miles apart taste exactly the same.’

It was, he admitted, a phenomenon that was ‘hard to explain. But probably still more comprehensible than trying to make Pinot Noir in the UK.’

Sex and the city

However, the new PDO has met with a mixed reaction from abroad.

Texan importer, Herman Slabjaw III said that he wouldn’t be importing any of the new PDO Sussex wines.

‘You know I’m a big supporter of the Queen and Prince Boris,’ he said, ‘but my customers would be furious if I tried to sell them anything with ‘sex’ on the label.

‘They’re honest, god-fearing people of extreme moral rectitude.

‘So they’d probably mow me down with an AK-47.’

Click here to read about the creation of ‘sovereign method’ sparkling wines, and here to read about why English fizz could be the ‘next sekt’.

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