So, we approach the end of February. This time of year feels transitional, with winter not fully behind us, and spring tentatively knocking at the door. The weather is changeable from one day to the next: grey, gloomy and wet yesterday, sunshine and a hint of warmth today. It’s an undeniable phenomenon that food and wine choices are influenced by the meteorological conditions, so this month we are highlighting four wines from across the spectrum to match anything the variable British climate can throw at you.
If it’s cold and miserable, and you’re tucking into some comfort food like a warming lamb or lentil stew, you’ll want a satisfying red to lift your mood. One of England’s few organic vineyards, Davenport produce a range of wines that are technically incredibly well-made but have real soul.
Their Diamond Fields Pinot Noir 2018, from the best vintage in a generation, has a velvety texture and flavours of black cherries, blackberry & red plum with savoury depths, a wine that offers instant pleasure but also rewards further examination.
If you’re not a red wine fan, but the weather isn’t suggesting a light white, then this medium bodied rosé could be the perfect choice. From Ditchling in East Sussex, just down the road from Ridgeview, this is Grape Britannia’s house rosé in the bar and our customers adore it.
With some time in oak, and a relatively deep colour from the Rondo grapes, the aromas are redolent of ripe redcurrants and vanilla ice cream. Agreeably rich on the palate, strawberries and cream segue into a mouth-watering lemon tart finish.
When the rain is pouring down outside, nothing cheers like a glass of English Sparkling Wine. Saffron Grange Vineyard in Essex released their maiden vintage last year and immediately made an impression on those in the trade who got to sample their Classic Cuvée 2016.
The Champagne grapes are in play – 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier – from a vineyard on the fabled chalk soils, but this is no Champagne clone – it has the inimitable English Sparkling Wine acidity balancing those slightly riper citrus fruit flavours, complemented by a hint of wild strawberry from the Pinot majority, and a sensationally long finish that oscillates gently round the mouth.
If spring really is in the air, then this fresh but intense Bacchus will complement the mood. Woodchester Valley’s winemaker, Jeremy Mount, has put the experience he has garnered at vineyards around the world to excellent use at this Cotswold vineyard.
It is a complex Bacchus, exuding aromas from elderflower to lychee, with amazing intensity and length. Yet while it has intensity, it maintains balance among the elements – it is not dominated by hedgerow notes or gooseberry as some powerful Bacchus wines are, but instead delivers a penetrating yet wonderfully rounded range of aromas and flavours.