One of the 2012 Sommelier Wine Awards By the Glass winners, Furleigh Estate’s Classic Cuvée 2009, helped Ian Edwards win the UK Vineyard Association’s coveted Winemaker of the Year award, announced on Friday 13 July.
Beating the likes of Camel Valley’s Sam Lindo and Chapel Down’s Andrew Parley, Edwards said the award showed that ‘Furleigh Estate has arrived’.
Interestingly, this is Furleigh Estate’s first sparkling release. ‘We took a bit of a risk,’ said Edwards of the decision he and his wife, Rebecca Hansford, took to plant in Bridport, Dorset in the early noughties. ‘There are no major producers near.’
His fresh approach showed with his other trophy winner, the Bacchus Fumé 2010. Matured in oak barriques for seven months, Edwards said white Bordeaux was the inspiration. With 90% Bacchus taking the Sauvignon role, there’s a 10% splash of Chardonnay, which in England acts ‘rather like Semillon’.
Chapel Down’s Bacchus Reserve 2010 was named Wine of the Year 2012, the first time in a long while a still wine has taken top spot. A specialist with this varietal, Kiwi winemaker Andrew Parley said the fruit for this tangy, aromatic, textured wine comes from lower-yielding vineyards, all planted in the late 1980s.
While applauding the quality of the sparkling whites, chair of judges Susan McCraith MW commented how rosé sparkling wine was ‘catching up on the white’.
A total of 259 wines were entered, with judging taking place over two days by a panel of six MWs.Furleigh Estate wines are available via Ellis of Richmond. A fuller report appears on Susanna Forbes’ DrinkBritain.com, and the complete results are available on the English Wine Producers site.