Freedom of the Press Chardonnay 2020


13.0% ABV
Wild flowers, tangerine, citrus, stone, butter and honey

A classic chardonnay from a ripe vintage. A lovely gold colour, with notes of wild flowers, tangerine, citrus, stone and honey. It has a light buttery quality that comes with gentle oak ageing in mellow old barrels, lees contact, and malolactic fermentation. It has great texture on the palate, and the alcohol of 13% is just the right body to hang the flavours on. Decent – but not overbearing – acidity makes it a good food match, and a wine to age.

The fruit was picked in the Crouch valley, Essex in mid October 2020 at around 93 oesechler (sugar level) – which is very ripe for English chardonnay. Four different clones were included in the batch, creating a complex profile. After a gentle press the wine was fermented in old oak using a variety of yeasts (again – for complexity) and matured on its lees for 11 months (contributing to a rich mouth feel), during which time malolactic fermentation converted sharper malic acid to the softer lactic acid. In the early months the wine was batonnaged (stirred with its lees) every week, and this reduced to once a month in spring. The wine was filtered before bottling to ensure stable long-term bottle ageing. It is closed with a Diam 5 cork, promising to be cork-taint free and having a consistent oxygen transfer rate for predictable long term cellar ageing.

Freedom of the Press is an urban winery on a hill in the Cotswolds. “That makes no sense” you might reasonably say. The original plan was to establish an ‘urban winery’ in Oxford with no vineyards of their own, buying the best grapes from across the country. They would operate more like an in-town micro brewery or boutique distillery than what most people think of as a vineyard. So that was the plan – they had a venue selected and everything. That was early Spring 2020. Covid took control of everybody’s lives, and the Oxford venue fell through. But just as it looked like it was curtains for the project they found a new home, a unit on a beautiful farm above Minster Lovell in the Cotswolds, 15 miles from Oxford.

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