It was my annual privilege recently to attend the Harvest Supper at Aldwick Estate in Somerset and to receive my hard earned wine “wages” for my toil in the vineyard last autumn – which followed a long hot summer, so great things are expected particularly from the red grapes, Regent and Pinot Noir. These wines won’t be released yet but the whites and a rosé should be available very soon.
Sandy’s update on the past year was short and sweet, but suffice it to say that this ambitious estate goes from strength to strength. A telling statistic is that production of grapes has risen from 8 tons in 2013 to a whopping 42 tons in 2018! This was at least partly due to the exceptionally favourable 2018 vintage, which produced a bumper crop across our green and pleasant land. It was so huge a crop that the winery didn’t have enough slots available to vinify it all. Another reason is the increased number of pickers. 70 were involved in the 2018 vintage, and 60 were there for the supper. Sandy’s sister Carol, a professional chef, is back from Spain and her tasty spreads are fast establishing a reputation for quality.
So here is this year’s line up:
A pale white wine made from 100% Solaris grapes. A dry, tangy and mouthwatering appetiser which comes into its own with food. It has wet stone and mineral tones, and light citrus fruit flavours. It reminded me of a quality Muscadet and would be a lovely match with shellfish, especially oysters.
A fresh fruity white wine made up of 1/3 Madeleine Angevine, 1/3 Bacchus and 1/3 Seyval Blanc grapes. A perfect summer’s evening wine with aromas of cottage garden flowers, lemon, green apple, strawberry, gooseberry and grape with peachy notes added on the palate. This is the quintessential “summer evening in an English country garden” wine.
Aromatic white wine with intense floral and peachy aromas and a distinctive grapefruit twang. To taste, it is dry, refreshing and yet creamy with notes of mandarin. The finish is very long indeed! Many of us were impressed. Usually, Bacchus has more green fruit and vegetable flavours, so the stone fruit flavour profile suggested grapes somewhat riper than usual – no surprise given that 2018 was a very hot summer. I think a salad with a fruity element would be a lovely match – Coronation chicken maybe? With food or without, sip and savour to appreciate its quality finish.
Mary’s Rose 2018
After a chat with the delectable Mary herself, I tasted this year’s rosé. Pale salmon in colour, this is delicate yet weighty and I thought there was a slight spritz. There were restrained tangy redcurrant, loganberry and cranberry flavours on the nose, but this wine is all about the palate. There was real depth of jammy strawberry flavour, with a creamy texture. The finish was long, and evolved into notes of apricot. It might not have oodles of complexity but the length, evolution and depth of flavour more than compensates.
A pale ruby-red wine with a purple tinge. An inviting intense nose of plum jam, tinned strawberries, cherries and spice with hints of rose hip and hedgerow fruit. Velvet smooth on the palate with low tannins but enough alcohol to balance with the flavours. Although a light red, it is not thin and weedy like English reds tend to be. It has enough depth and complexity to be satisfying, and a hint of Italian style sourness on the finish makes it an attractive food match – try lightly chilling it for optimal balance and crack open with charcuterie. Be quick – I have just read that it got a Decanter World Wine Awards Bronze medal so it won’t be about for long!!!
Each wine has its own ideal situation so choosing is impossible – so I’ll go with the one I opened first when I got them home……and that was Mary’s Rose.
Somerset Wine Fair 7th June 2019 – Nyland Manor, Cheddar
Aldwick Estate (as well as Sutton Ridge and Oatley) are presenting their wines so if you want to taste them for yourselves why not come along. Here is the link for more information: