Episode 114 – English Wine Week
22nd June 2022
It is English Wine Week, and this year I have decided to feature some brand new wines that are all absolutely fascinating. For most of these labels, it is the first time I have mentioned these cuvées despite writing about almost all of these estates before. It is so exciting that there is so much dynamism and evolution in our industry, so be sure to track down and taste as many of these lovely creations as possible. If you would like to read about many other superb English wines then please click on the Vineyard Magazine tab for my recent articles.
NV Westwell, Wicken Foy approx. £27.50,
www.noblefineliquor.co.uk, www.forestwines.com, www.coombesheadfarm.co.uk, www.thebottleofhastings.com
Wicken Foy is a 40% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Meunier and 25% Chardonnay blend bolstered with reserve wines collated over five vintages from 2014 – 2018. These reserves make up 20% of the final blend, bringing discreet complexity and a soothing texture to the whole. With beautiful purity and exquisite balance, this is an astonishingly pretty wine, and it is priced perfectly, too.
2014 Oastbrook, Brut Cuvée £38.00, www.oastbrook.com and £37.80, www.sarahscellar.com
Made from 63% Chardonnay, 21% Pinot Noir and 17% Pinot Meunier and spending 75 months resting on lees before disgorgement, this is a rich, ripe, full and surprisingly generous sparkler. The palate is lovely and lush with a beautiful bitter finish that cuts the exuberance brilliantly while refreshing the taste buds. This is a dazzling wine with a nervy backbone, and this makes it a riotous ride.
2021 Dunleavy Vineyards, Still White Hereford £20.00, www.dunleavyvineyards.co.uk
This is an Ingrid Bates crowd-funder wine, showing that she has an uncanny ability to take something familiar and transform it with her magical skills into something fascinating and unpredictable. ‘Still White’ is a Bacchus, and it is pristinely clean, laser-bright, actively raspy, generously citrusy and bitingly raw, and I love it.
2021 Oatley Vineyard, ‘Jane’s’, Cannington, Somerset £78.00 for six bottles (£12.50 per bottle); £138.00 for twelve bottles (£11.50 per bottle) www.oatleyvineyard.co.uk
I have a soft spot for sensitively made Madeleine Angevine, and ‘Jane’s’ is delightfully light, pure and innocent with lovely poise and freshness. It is a classic example of a quintessential English summer white designed for all-day drinking with your best friends. Given the case price, you have no excuse for missing out on this gentle, soothing white wine. Visit Oatley Vineyard on the Somerset Food Trail next month! Link here – http://www.somersetfoodtrail.org/
2021 Wraxall, Bacchus, Somerset £18.00, www.wraxallvineyard.co.uk
While the vintage does not appear on the label (this is being rectified in subsequent bottlings) 0021WVBAC in small print on the back label is the batch number and the ‘21’ within this code gives the drinker confidence that this is indeed a brand new 2021 wine. Juicy, exotic and with discreet peach and passionfruit notes, this is a more expressive style of Bacchus than the Dunleavy wine, and I love its exuberance and generosity. This is a delicious and memorable white wine that is foody, kaleidoscopic and rather wistful. Interestingly, there is 20% barrel fermentation employed here in neutral oak, and I feel that this adds immeasurably to the mid-palate opulence. This is another vineyard on the Somerset Food Trail next month! Link here – http://www.somersetfoodtrail.org/
2021 Dunleavy Vineyards, Rosé, Somerset £15.95, www.dunleavyvineyards.co.uk
With three different labels featured above, this is another Pinch.Point crowdfunding wine, and it is another lesson in controlled tanginess and bitterness with cherry skin, cranberry and rhubarb notes countering silky moments of raspberry and red plums. Deliciously refreshing, this is one of the most hypnotic rosés of the vintage!