Westwell releases first low-intervention wine

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Drinks: Sparkling, Wines
Location: England

New owners can often signal big changes for a business, and that’s been the case for Westwell winery in the North Downs, Kent, which has just released its first wine since the Taylor family took ownership in 2016.

Westwell Pelegrim NV has had a significant cut in sugar, with the dosage being reduced from 19g/l to 9g/l. It’s a blend of 45% Pinot Noir, 45% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay, and reserve wines make up 20% of the recipe.

‘The high quality of the fruit has allowed us to lower the dosage, which in turn means we have been able to achieve a greater expression of the terroir of the site,’ said winemaker Adrian Pike. ‘It could be interesting to experiment with zero dosage for a separate label in the future, as long as we continue to have long, hot summers.’

The wine is lees-aged in bottle for 18 to 24 months, which is hinted at in the initial buttery biscuit base characters, before a noticeable line of acidity – namely crab apples and lime – takes over, leading onto a powdery, brisk finish.

Former winemaker John Rowe had already been moving the vineyards towards a low intervention approach, and his work has been continued by Pike and grower Marcus Goodwin, who both previously worked at organic producer Davenport.

Methods used by the winery include using grasses and clovers to fix nitrogen in the vineyard soil and disease modelling using weather station data, allowing the company to reduce the amount of pesticides used.

Westwell Wines, 01233 690471

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Laura Foster

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