Some English wines

At the end of an earlier post on visits to a couple of English vineyards I mentioned I might have more to say after trying some of my purchases.  Well I opened a few bottles last weekend for my small tasting group, and here are some thoughts.  Most wine were bought at the English Wine Centre, which tends to be rather expensive.  Where this is the case I give first what I consider to be the normal market price, so fair price comparisons can be made.

Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs, 2001, £27-ish (£34.50 at EWC): At first I thought this was a 2007, but I was confused by the stroke at the top of the 1.  So the idea of  a mini horizontal with the Ridgeview went out of the window!  Soft and fruity, medium high acidity, with a distinctive touch of honeyed sweetness.  Good to drink now, but would be no problem keeping several more years. ****

Ridgeview, Bloomsbury, 62% Chardonnay, 24% Pinot Noir, 14% Pinot Meunier, 2007, £19 (£24.30 at EWC): Soft strawberry fruit, medium high acid, dryer than the Nyetimber, and with a hard slightly unpleasant finish.  Would probably improve with 10 years or so. I clearly preferred the Nyetimber, but it is only fair to comment here that others thought this Ridgeview was better. ***

Three Choirs Vineyards, Coleridge Hill, English Regional Wine, Madeleine Angevine, Pheonix, 2009,  £8.50 (£9.50 at EWC):  Watery appearance, intensely grassy and herbaceous, medium high acidity, light and slightly off-dry. Length is maybe lacking a bit.  Drink now.   The 2005 Coleridge Hill was the first English wine I bought quite a few bottles of, but at that time it was only £5.50.  I still might be tempted at £8.50 occasionally, as it would make a lovely light summer aperitif. ***

Chapel Down, Bacchus, English Vineyards Quality Wine PSR, 2009, £10.00: Watery appearance.  Pungent.  A lot of cat pee on a small gooseberry bush.  Someone else said “stale sweat on a T-shirt”.  Eek, that’s right, it was not cat pee after all.  Strangely, after having heard Sauv Blanc being described as cat pee a few times in the past, the idea of stale sweat seemed so much more disgusting.  Slightly off dry, and with excellent length.  Drink now.  Despite all the sweat and pee metaphors I did like this. Open a bottle as an alternative to a Sauvignon Blanc sometime. ***

Single Vineyard Wine, Astley, Severn Vale, English Vineyards Quality Wine PSR, 2007, £8.50 (£11.75 at EWC): Watery appearance, citrus, sweet grapefruit, medium acidity, medium dry, lacking in length, and with slightly unpleasant finish.  This is not a style I like at all.  In terms of balance it reminded me of a cheap sweetish Vouvray.  For me a sweet wine has to have good acidity and intense flavours – this was lacking on both counts.  Others at the table liked it more than me.  **

However good or bad the wines were, this was not one of the most enjoyable tastings I have organised.  So many light, rather acidic, white wines in quick succession were rather difficult to stomach.  Whilst a glass might be OK on its own, if you drink these wines in any quantity you really need food.

Author: Steve Slatcher

Wine enthusiast

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