I visited the Barnsole Vineyard (in Staple, very near Canterbury) yesterday and met the owners. We tasted a few of the wines and discussed the difficulties of the 2012 vintage. Sadly Barnsole, like other English vineyards, has been badly affected by the poor conditions at flowering during the cool, damp spring. As a result the harvest is down by 50% on whites and slightly more on the red grapes. The outcome will be fewer bottles of their wines (on average they produce 8,000 each year) and one cuvée instead of the usual two of the white wine. The good news from the vineyard is that they will be planting some Bacchus, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir next year and extending the winery. So the prospects for the future are looking good for sparkling wine, a lighter Pinot red and some delicious Bacchus.
We tasted a number of the wines from the 2010 and 2011 vintages and now I will stock three of the wines at the Goods Shed in Canterbury. They will be the light, fragrant and off dry Canterbury Choice Pilgrim’s Harvest 2010 (£10.50) made from Huxelrebbe, which gives the wine a gentle muscat scent and flavour, the Canterbury Choice Dry Reserve 2011 (£11.95), a powerful , textured dry white made from Reichensteiner, with green apple and citrus notes carrying a whacking 14% alcohol (my first 14% er from this island, and that’s with no sugar addition!) and the Canterbury Choice Red Reserve (£12.00) made from the Rondo grape, plus a little Regent and Pinot Noir. This gives a cranberry and leaf fruit with smooth tannins and pleasing balance.
We stock quite a few English wins at Press Wine Services at the Goods Shed. From Kent: Biddenden, Throwley, Sandhurst and Barnsole; from East Sussex: Limney Brut (sadly there will be no Dry White until the 2013 vintage); from West Sussex: Nyetimber and Stopham; and from Cornwall we stock Camel Valley.