There are a few ways to maintain a large wine estate in England. The most obvious is simply to accrue enough capital elsewhere to be able to bludgeon weather, yields, labour costs, competition and price pressure into submission. If you can afford not to have to turn a profit for…well, decades, when it comes to sparkling wine, then the whole enterprise takes on a kind of conceptual shift. Talk of ‘custodians’ or ‘thinking in generations’ sounds a bit like kicking the can down the road sometimes, although that’s nothing to complain about if the work, and the wine, is good.

Continue reading “Simpsons Wine Estate – Staying Nimble in East Kent”

We all have our dream pub quiz questions. Our fantasy tiebreakers. Here’s mine:

Q. Which grape variety is allowed in the English Quality Sparkling Wine PDO that is not allowed in champagne?

A. Früburgunder. Pinot Noir Précoce. Pinot Madeleine. Early Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir Early. If ever there was an identity crisis in the world of wine then this would be it. A Pinot Noir that ripens fully for red wine in mid-September…in England? It sounds too good to be true. With plantings increasing in the UK, is it time we blew away some of the (occasionally convenient) confusion about this grape and took a good look at what it can, and can’t do?

Continue reading “Frühburgunder – Out of The Shadows?”

Ca’ Del Bosco are one of the most important producers of sparkling wine outside Champagne. They are growers, holding 220 hectares of prime Franciacorta  vineyard, farmed organically. In the winemaking world, however, it is the cellar operation which raises eyebrows. Take a look at the Metodo Ca’ Del Bosco:

Continue reading “Ca’ Del Bosco Annamaria Clementi 2010 – A Lesson in Care”

I recently posted on Twitter a copy of Patrick Forbes’ Champagne; The Wine, The Land, The People which I had just bought second hand. Inside was a dedication above, dated 1970.

In the absence of a great deal of wine to write about during lockdown (short of emptying the stocks at at an inadvisable rate), I thought I would offer something a little different. Presenting Foiled, a short work of non-fact.

Continue reading “Foiled”

Harrow and Hope Brut Reserve

A Stylistic Marker?

Although most individual wines are now found in the new Tasting Notes archive, this was one of the star performers in English Sparkling Wine 2020 so I thought it was worth a re-taste, 6 months on. 

This is an important one to taste for anyone interested in English Sparkling Wine syles. It takes a very convincing step in an interesting area – English Sparkling Wine and oak.

Continue reading “Harrow and Hope Brut Reserve No. 4”