Good news about English wine keeps coming in, beginning with optimistic reports from several vineyards about the high quality of the harvest. . .
This summer I visited
and his wife Bella in Steven
Spurrier Dorset, coincidentally on the day Steven
was going over to Furleigh Estate to taste the final blend of his and Bella’s
Bride Valley sparkling wine, which had been resting there in bottle for more than a
year, while undergoing secondary fermentation. I was happy to go along. (Here they are afterward, contented.)
I’d never been to the winery, which has a tasting room that would rival anything in the Napa Valley, as well as lovely wines. I can say the same for
and Bella’s—freshness and elegance were the words that came immediately to
mind. Afterward, we walked through the Bride Valley vineyard with Bella, quite
relaxed now in her role as vigneronne
after a couple of good harvests in a row; the view of their village below, and
their house, was postcard-perfect. The wine will be released soon.
Another notable sparkler is from Davenport, a winery in East Sussex, which I encountered on the wine list at Fera, in Claridge’s—bracing and delicious. It’s also made from organically farmed grapes. Will Davenport took the organic plunge just over 10 years ago, and it’s paid off. For example, his Horsmonden Dry White (named for the vineyard in
where the grapes are grown) just won the well-established (28 years!) and
prestigious Soil Association Organic Award.
Finally, London Cru, a winery based in London that makes wine from grapes purchased in various countries (but which isn’t allowed by the Food Standards Agency to say which countries or even which grape varieties on their labels), has made their first buy of English grapes, 3,000 kilograms of Bacchus from Sandhurst Vineyards in
Kent. “This is the year
to do it,” said winemaker . As the grapes are local,
the wine should be allowed to be labeled with locality and variety. Gavin