Hampshire’s best kept little secret
You know that feeling you get when you discover a wine that is pretty special, great value for money, and off the radar? How you want to share your discovery with your wine-loving friends and let them experience it too?
Well, that’s how we felt when we came across Danebury Vineyard’s wines. We took part in a webinar for WineGB, the English vineyards’ trade organisation, discussing the marketing of English wine in this different world we all find ourselves in. Also on the panel was Caroline Stevens from Danebury Vineyards, and she got in touch afterward to introduce us to their wines.
With a mere 2.8ha of vineyard, they are dwarfed by larger Hampshire winemakers like Hambledon, Hattingley and Exton Park, but their quality levels do not fall short. Alongside an excellent sparkling wine, they produce some of the few still wines from Hampshire, which has focused on English Sparkling Wine production, and their results show the potential.
Being so small, most of their wine historically has been sold from their cellar door to luck locals, and it is only the current situation that has allowed us to get our hands on them.
From an exquisitely precise Madeleine Angevine (a grape we often find resulting in rather blurry, indistinct wines), via an amazingly complex-for-the-money white blend, to their incredibly reasonably priced sparkling with four years lees ageing, you should try these wines! To encourage you to do so, we are offering free delivery on our Danebury mixed case, containing one sparkling and five white wines, priced at £78.50, well under our normal free delivery threshold of £180. Just add the code DANEBURY at checkout.
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Ancre Hill Vineyard – Welsh, organic & biodynamic
And now for something a little bit different…
Ancre Hill Estates is located in the Welsh county of Monmouthshire. The 12 hectares of vineyards are perfectly positioned on south facing slopes close to the border town of Monmouth and the Wye Valley.
The estate utilises traditional Biodynamic and Organic Viticultural practices to produce the best possible fruits from carefully sourced and selected varieties with excellent heritage. The wines produced at Ancre Hill express the terroir of ancient mudstone and sandstone soils, giving the wines their character and natural flavours, with no external intervention or manipulation in the winemaking process.
Their range contains gorgeous examples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (both red and rosé), but it is their “Sui Generis” (one of a kind) wines that really are rather wonderfully different. The label of their Orange wine (shown above), made from the rarely-grown-in-the-UK Albarino grape, riffing on the cover of Anthony Burgess’s famous novel “A Clockwork Orange”, somehow perfectly sums up the wine inside – edgy but a classic. Their red Pet Nat, made from Triomphe, is a gently sparkling sour cherry fruit bomb.
Again, we have put together a mixed case with free delivery – this time use the coupon ANCRE at checkout.
Flint Vineyard Pinot Noir Précoce 2019 (£19.99)
We loved the 2018 vintage of this wine, but wondered how the 2019, from a slightly cooler vintage, would compare. We needn’t have worried – if anything, the 2019 is even more intense and complex.
This wine shows a wonderful complexity of fruit with sour cherry and cranberry shining through. The palate is soft yet structured, akin to a Beaujolais Cru from Fleurie. The grapes were partially fermented as whole bunch, partially crushed and destemmed. After fermentation the wine was transferred to oak barrel where it completed malolactic fermentation and matured for 6 months.
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Albourne Estate Pinot Noir 2018 (£17.99)
Last summer we tasted samples from the barrels from which this wine was blended, and knew it was going to be a winner. We made sure that we were first in the queue to get hold of some when it was released.
Do open this wine an hour before drinking – it is still young and takes some minutes to unfurl and release its fragrant secrets. You will find delicate but ripe red fruit aromas – cranberry, raspberry and red cherry – intermingled with more savoury notes, an almost earthy hint to it that works well in balance with the lifted fruit. On the palate, there is more of the same, lingering and developing in the mouth.
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Many English vineyards suffered devastating frosts in early May, some losing 70% of the potential crop for the year. On top of enforced cellar door closures, it is a tough time for the English wine industry, but most will survive, and with the support of English wine drinkers, ultimately thrive. Thank you!
Co-Founder, Grape Britannia