Tasting Room

Drinks: Wines

English Wine Producers

The wine trade returned to the splendour of One Great George Street off Parliament Square for this year’s English Wine Producers’ tasting yesterday. Despite a poor vintage curbing supplies of the 2012 wines, the mood was upbeat, with a number of new faces and talk of copious quantities of vine plantings about to start. All this year’s Sommelier Wine Awards winning wines were on show, along with the highlights below:

THE BLEND: Wickham Vineyards Fumé
A lovely bouquet of stone fruit and apple flavours with a tang of star fruit on the finish. A splash of Chardonnay softens out the welcome exuberance of this Bacchus/Reichensteiner blend, providing a distinctive, food-friendly white. Great to see this reborn winery returning with such style. SF
£7.60, Wickham Vineyard

THE TEXTURE: Chapel Down Kits Coty Chardonnay 2011, Kent
Tang and persistence in this first single-vineyard release from Chapel Down’s superb site near Maidstone. Nearly all barrel-fermented, the oaking is sweet and gentle, alongside tart peach and cooked apricot flavours, and a tangerine flourish on the finish. No wonder they have such high hopes for this vineyard. SF
£8.95, Chapel Down

THE PINK FIZZ: Bluebell Hindleap Rosé 2010
With roughly two-thirds Pinot Noir to one-third Pinot Meunier, this has lovely fresh flavours of summer pudding. Bluebell’s Rosé deliberately has a touch more residual sugar than previous vintages, giving the wine a fine breadth of flavour alongside a nice hint of creaminess. SF
£14.99, Bluebell Vineyards

THE BUBBLES: Bolney Blanc de Blancs 2009
With an elegant, persistent sparkle, blossom aromas mix with ogden and white melon notes on this 100% Chardonnay fizz. While most sparkling wine producers seek to produce neutral base wines to ensure the autolytic flavours have full rein, winemaker Samantha Linter actively encourages the fruit notes in her initial wines, and this shows through as a delightful freshness on the palate. SF
£17.60, Bolney Wine Estate

ONE TO WATCH: Knightor Pinot Gris 2011, Cornwall White
Top notch, textured white from this relatively new St Austell-based winery. Tart peaches prickle the sides of your tongue while lemon and light tangerine notes dominate on the finish. Look out for its fascinating Trevannion blend – roughly thirds each of Siegerrebe, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, but sadly all-but depleted. SF
£11.45, Knightor Winery

A fuller report will appear on DrinkBritain.com in the coming week.

Emerging Regions

Gaia Wines Wild Ferment Assyrtiko 2012, Santorini, Greece
An intense nose with savoury, smoky and toasty notes makes a striking first impression. And the palate doesn’t disappoint: layered and complex with a savoury and nutty character that cries out for food. Would be cracking with tapas. JS
£13.44, Novum Wines, 01582 406493

Mi Terruño UVAS Malbec 2011, Mendoza, Argentina
Unoaked with bright fruity aromas, this fruit-forward Malbec boasts lots of super-silky blackcurrants and blackberries on the palate, with a lick of spice. A safe bet for pubs and gastropubs. JS
£9.71, Ruta 40, 0800 410 1003

SF: Susanna Forbes, DrinkBritain; JS: Julie Sheppard, Imbibe

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