The Stanlake Park Grand Reserve NV is a superb example of the winemaker’s art, with the best samples of Rondo, Regent and Dornfelder from across three years (2015-2017) blended together and given time in French oak to add body and complexity. There are soft but intense red and black berry flavours mingled with vanilla and sweet spice from the oak, making a complex but very approachable red wine that is a flagship example of an English red blend.
The beginnings of the Stanlake Park estate were around 1166 when the land was held by Patrick Earl of Salisbury. During the second half of the 20th century Stanlake Park was owned by the Leighton family, of which Jon Leighton had the vision to plant a vineyard in 1979, when a small test area of 500 vines was planted. The original vineyard was known as Thames Valley Vineyard, but was later renamed after the Stanlake Park estate itself. The initial test area was then expanded to over 15 acres and more than 10,000 vines. Stanlake Park grows a large number of grape varieties – including Bacchus, Schönburger, Madeleine Angevine, Seyval Blanc, Triomphe d’Alsace, Gewürztraminer, Ortega, Dornfelder, Siegerrebe, Optima, Pinot Grigio and the classic Champagne varieties Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. There are also several different trellising systems used, including some unique to the Estate – the “Stanlake Bow” and the “Stanlake Ballerina”, which is a variant of the Smart-Dyson Ballerina, in effect a mid-height Sylvoz system; this system is ideal for England’s long cool growing season, giving the resultant fruit a perfect balance between quality and yield. The careful hand harvesting of the grapes usually starts at the beginning of October. Winemaking takes place within a 17th Century Reformation barn which houses the largest winery in Berkshire, capable of handling over 200 tonnes of fruit in any one season. Our disgorging line was one of the first being used in England. The fastidious attention to detail in the vineyard continues in the winery, where the entire process is carefully monitored and controlled by Nico Centonze, Stanlake Park’s winemaker.
www.jancisrobinson.com review: Candied cherries and sweet spices. Some grip which comes entirely from the fruit, acidity and oak because the tannins are like slim sheets of jewelled glass slipped between the layers of fruit and spice. Elegant. 16.5/20 (Tamlyn Currin)