Jubilant at Aldwick Court Farm

21 08 2016

You meet the nicest people in the wine industry – it’s one of the great joys of my job. On Friday I visited Aldwick Court Farm, tucked away in the rolling countryside a few miles south of Bristol Airport – working farm, events venue and vineyard owned by Sandy Luck with longtime friend and Vineyard Manager Elizabeth Laver.

I visited here once before some 8 years ago just after the first vines had been planted and the event space just being built. On Friday I walked through a further field of beautifully tended vines planted in 2010 and saw the prettily decorated room overlooking the vineyard all set up for a wedding later that day (the bride and groom have their photos taken amongst the vines!). There’s a tasting room and shop now too. 

It hasn’t been an easy journey for Sandy who took over the farm after her brother died unexpectedly and for a while the vines were left to do their own thing. Elizabeth stepped in to help and got totally hooked on viticulture and together they have have created an award-winning operation.

The wines are made by Steve Brooksbank at Bagborough whose calm pragmatism and passion shows through in the clear pure flavours of the wines.

My tasting notes:

2013 Jubilate, English Sparkling Wine, Traditional Method Brut, Aldwick Court Farm
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Seyval Blanc
Crisp and still very youthful, the fruit has good precision and the balance is well judged. Will develop well over the next 12 months. Lovely label too (designed by a fellow Master of Wine who has a design agency in Bath)

2015 Bacchus, Aldwick Court Farm
Characterful fresh green floral nose – a delicious example of Bacchus. The fruit is notably ripe with good depth and super length. A really lovely glass of wine.

2015 Finbar, Aldwick Court
70% Madeleine Angevine, 30% Seyval Blanc
Nose is quite distinct from the Bacchus, with slight lemonade/ sherbet notes. There is good weight on the palate, overall a good clean fresh wine.

2015 Mary’s Rose, Aldwick Court
Solaris, Regent, Pinot Noir
Pretty pale pink with appealing delicate redcurrant nose. Delivers very attractive flavour on the palate, this is quite full and fresh with some some lively spritz on the palate. Good flavour and moreish! (This got a Gold medal at the English Wine of the Year competition)

For further details go to their website: http://www.aldwickcourtfarm.co.ukimg_5007

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Going for Gold – at Camel Valley Vineyard

16 08 2016

There’s nowhere quite like it! As Team GB are winning Golds at the Olympics and are second on the leaderboard, on the English wine front we’re doing just as well. With Gold medals at all the major competitions we’ve piqued the interest of the Champagne houses who are investing in land over himg_4977 img_4979 img_4985 img_4987ere. Our reputation is built upon sparkling but we can be just as proud of our still white, rose and even some red wines now too. Global warming is certainly helping but we’re also developing the know how and the experience – amply demonstrated by the modest Sam Lindo at Camel Valley Vineyards within cycling distance from Padstow in Cornwall. I like the way Bob and Sam have developed their business, focussing on what works, growing organically, keeping things simple, keeping a level head. They know that the vagaries of the British climate can pose threats for a single site operation so they have wisely developed a multi-site approach, ensuring a reliable consistent supply of grapes. Production is now around 200,000 bottles and at that size they’re small enough to be in constant high demand. You’ll find Camel Valley wines only at the best outlets. I asked Sam what his favourite food and wine pairing was, expecting him to say something like freshly-caught brill with Darnibole Bacchus but in typically down-to-earth style his favourite is Cornish fish and chips with Camel Valley Brut – so good you’d do it twice!