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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

JONATHAN RAY rekindles his childhood with a visit to Jim Blanchard's hop farm in Oxfordshire. Ray grew up in a house surrounded by hop gardens, and he learns that there is an emerging trend towards single-hop-variety beers. Beer Academy director Rupert Ponsonby tells him that Goldings hops are 'akin to Chardonnay from Chablis, being light, austere, citrussy and delicate', while the Fuggle is 'earthy and spicy like a Rhne Syrah'. Challenger and Northdown offer 'crisp, clean, lime flavours', like Loire Sauvignon, while First Gold is similar to Viognier.