May 24, 2009

English Wine Week : A Tour and Tasting at Brightwell Vineyard

By In Vineyard & Wine Travel, Wine Notes

Brightwell Vineyard is a quintessentially English vineyard overlooking the Thames in South Oxfordshire; family owned and run the estate is small (14 acres) and still in an experimental stage with new plantings, grubbing up and so on on-going. Things must be going well as there are plans for extensive Pinot Noir plantings next year where the pig field currently stands. They do not, currently, make their wines on the estate although most of the equipment is now in place to do so in the future; but like so many other English wine estates they utilise another estates wine making facilities.

Six wines currently in the range – two blended whites Oxford Flint and Crispin, a single varietal Bacchus, a rosé Oxford Rose , a red Oxford Regatta and a sparkler. Given the climate and the generally accepted assumptions of English wine you might be surprised at the results of our tasting.

The bloggers involved – sadly four had to drop out at the very last minute – were Denise the Wine Sleuth, Jeanne Cooksister, Helen of Food Stories, Mark ‘the beer guy’ who writes at Pencil and Spoon and Niamh of Eat Like A Girl. Plus myself. All travelled out to Oxfordshire for a little English wine exploration as part of English Wine Week.

With the exception of Jeanne all were twittering on the day hence the use of tweet extracts in the report below. The tag #aeww (awesome English Wine Week) was used (when remembered) so you can read the full days events via that tag. More images and tweetie-bits are on Spittoon Extra and more aeww pictures on flickr.

Wine Tasting Note: Brightwell Oxford Flint, dry white, a blend of Huxelrebe and Chardonnay grapes

eatlikeagirl: And now for the tasting at Brightwell Vineyard. Starting with Oxford Flint. #aeww
wine_scribbler: @aeww gravel lime skins
thewinesleuth: #aeww brightwell oxford flint, dry smells like minerally, slight citrus, lime, dryyyyyy

Wine Tasting Note: Brightwell Crispin, dry white, a blend of Reichensteiner and Bacchus grapes.

wine_scribbler: touch of residual, orchard fruit flavours quite dry apples brightwell crispin #aeww
FoodStories: #aeww second wine ‘Crispin’ much softer than first, appley.

Wine Tasting Note: Brightwell Bacchus, dry white, 100% Bacchus.

thewinesleuth: #aeww bacchus 100 percent, aromatic, fruit salad finish
markdredge: 3 wines in so far: oxford flint, crispin and bacchus – all dry whites. I’m liking the bacchus right now. Very… Grapey 😉 #aeww
eatlikeagirl: Bacchus the favourite so far. Deliciously appley. Very fresh. #aeww
FoodStories: #aeww top marks to @pencilsndspoon for describing the ‘fruit salad finish’ on the ‘bacchus’

Wine Tasting Note: Brightwell Rosé, Dornfelder grapes

wine_scribbler: oxford rose dornfelder dry but lovely fruit in balance raspberry #aeww
eatlikeagirl: Oxford Rose. Very dry, lots me raspberry and some background strawberry. #aeww
thewinesleuth: #aeww oxford rose, ripe raspberries and strawberry, excellent dry rose, perfect for wimbledon
FoodStories: #aeww Oxford rose now, beautiful blushing colour, raspberries, strawberry finish.

Wine Tasting Note: Brightwell Regatta Red, blended principally from Dornfelder grapes

wine_scribbler: oxford regatta #aeww mellowing into a nice spiciness complex palate berry and spice vg
thewinesleuth: #aeww dornfelder 06n wood spice + pepper nose, woody spice, savoury with loads of black pepper, really minerally-ironman
wine_scribbler: red a great surprise very complex mineral blood tang #aeww
eatlikeagirl: Oxford Regatta, dry red, light red colour, very peppery nose. Lots of mineral, esp iron. #aeww
markdredge: Oxford regatta, english red. Like this a lot, complex; pepper, plums, spice, pencil sharpenings, flowers, blood – all in good way #aeww

Overall it was the red wine that astounded everyone – for a country that seldom has the climate to ripen red grapes fully this was a surprise; it is excellent in a Pinot-Noir styled way. So next years plans for planting a mass of Pinot Noir grapes does not sound too outlandish now! The rosé appears to be the second favourite wine in the line-up; gloriously English.

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Top :: Comments

  1. Helen May 25, 2009

    It was a most excellent day! The red wine was a massive surprise wasn’t it? Really spicy and delish. Thanks again for a brilliant day. I still can’t believe a pig tried to eat my skirt.

  2. Andrew May 25, 2009

    Well if you would talk of fresh herbs and garlic in front of them! 😉
    Hope the slobbering came out in the wash.

  3. ryan May 25, 2009

    Looks like fun, love how you posted the notes! We will need to plan a trip one day to specifically visit a few English vineyards.
    BTW, it does look “awesome” 😉

  4. Mark May 26, 2009

    I had a great time at this, it was really cool to learn more about English wines and to try a few with you. Cheers 🙂

  5. Will June 1, 2009

    Hi Andrew,
    sounds like a fun day out and great idea to get fellow bloggers together!
    please let me know if you are doing another one and I would love to attend.
    Will Wilson


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