This is a wine made to showcase the potential for English red wine. All the grapes come from a single vineyard, Martin's Lane, in the Crouch Valley, Essex. The vineyard is planted on clay soils in one of the hotest and driest parts of England. The proximity of the River Crouch keeps the frost at bay and moderates the temperatures. It's why the Crouch Valley is seen as being the best place to grow still wine grapes in the UK.
A beautiful, long, hot summer in 2020 enabled the grapes to fully ripen on the vine, resulting in an wonderful intensity of flavour and body. The grapes are all Spätburgunder still wine clones which where harvested on October 9th, 17th and 18th.
In the glass the colour is deep ruby red. On the nose there are aromas of ripe cherries, dark chocolate and cedar wood. The palate has notes of undergrowth with dark brambly fruits, cherries, blackcurrant and some raspberry. Time spent in larger 400 litre oak gives the wine a toasty vanilla note and subtle spiciness.
“This is a serious Pinot Noir, and I sort of wish that I’d tasted it blind. There’s a touch of coffee, spice and woodsmoke on the nose supporting aromatic black cherries and blackberries. The palate has a lovely sleek cherry fruit core with a smooth, sweetly fruited mid-palate, and then finishes taut and focused, with some spicy framing. This is glossy, pure, alluring and fully ripe. Where would I place it, tasted blind? Probably Central Otago, as there’s freshness but also a dark fruit core. Perhaps the lively acid line on the finish gives its origin away, but I’m really impressed. 93/100” – Jamie Goode