Tasting Notes

Camel Valley Brut 2006
Bottled at Camel Valley Farm, Little Denby Farm, Nanstallon, Bodmin, Cornwall. Championed by Rick Stein, Matthew Jukes and others and considered the top vineyard in Cornwall. Establishing itself as one of the country's best sparkling wine sources. Comprises 16 acres with 20,000 vines planted, the first vintage being produced in 1992. Now with its own on site winery.


Grape Varieties - Seyval Blanc/Huxelrube/Reichensteiner.

Bottle fermented using the "traditional Merret method" of 1662 - on 17 December 1662 Christopher Merret presented a paper to the Royal Society on how to "render wines sparkling", more than 30 years before the French started to make Champagne.

IWC Bronze Medal.

Smooth and fruity palate with a long round finish. Slow maturing of the grapes provides delicate flavours and a refreshing acidity.

Three Choirs Rose 2008
Bottled at Newent, Gloucestershire. One of the biggest and best known vineyards in the UK. Established in 1973 with half an acre, the estate now comprises 100 acres of which 75 acres are under vines. Managed by one of the UK's most renowned and award winning winemakers, Martin Fowke. As well as the vineyard there is a winery, nature trail, restaurant, herb garden, micro brewery and you can even stay there! It cultivates a wide range of typically English grape varieties and also Pinot Noir, hand harvesting being the norm. It also offers contract winemaking for around 30 to 40 other small growers.


Bronze Medal in English & Welsh Wine of the Year Competition 2009

Off dry, crisp, zesty rose combines the crisp, fresh qualities of the Seyval Blanc grape with the ruby coloured, summer fruit characters of Triomphe and Regent. Deeply coloured, with an aroma of strawberries, this has real depth of flavour.

Monnow Valley Madeleine Angevine 2000
Great Osbaston Farm, Monmouth.

One acre of vines was planted in 1979 and this was extended to four acres in 1988.

Fresh and floral, fruity to the palate. Easy drinking wine with a pronounced muscatty bouquet.


This vineyard, one of 14 in Wales, has no website to allow greater elaboration but one of their other wines is sold in Tesco and Somerfield in Wales.

Three Choirs Stone Brook 2008

Using the varieties of Siegerrebe and Schonburger, this blend has an aromatic lychee-type nose and shows plumpness and ripe fruit on the finish.

Stanlake Park Regatta 2007
Grown and bottled on the Stanlake Park Wine Estate at Twyford, Reading, Berkshire. The Estate comprises 25 acres with over 30,000 vines, is situated in Windsor Great Park and the first vines were planted in 1979 when it was known as Thames Valley Vineyards, thereafter as Valley Vineyards. Around a dozen different wines can be bought from the cellar shop at the vineyard which has an on-site winery, also used for contract winemaking for other vineyards. Regatta has been made each year since 1990 and is named after the nearby Henley Regatta.


A rich spicy nose with a delicate, fragrant lift. It is a consistent blend of several of the Estate's grape varieties, such as Ortega and Schonburger. On the palate it is well balanced with an herbaceous, crisp and dry freshness, followed by a long finish. A little different from many of the light, floral English whites, being dry with more backbone and boldness.

Chapel Down Bacchus 2008
Produced and bottled at Small Hythe, Tenterdown, Kent. Chapel Down has tied up with various other vineyards to form English Wines plc, one of the biggest and most successful wine producers in the south east. Tenterdown comprises 21 acres and is the headquarters of the group, other vineyards being owned or under contract. Owen Elias is in charge, having been UK Winemaker of the Year on a number of occasions. Chapel Down currently produces a ratio of 70% sparkling to 30% still wine.

This wine is made with Bacchus grapes sourced from Kent and Essex. This white is considered to be England's answer to Sauvignon Blanc. The Bacchus grape produces a fresh and crisp wine with excellent citrus fruit characters and a refreshing finish.

A subtle nose of elderflower and green herbs. Apple, ginger and white pepper on the palate, with crisp citrus acidity. Pale, dry and refreshing.

Dry and surprisingly richly textured for an English white, plenty of flavour, with a lingering aftertaste reminiscent of elderflower.


Wickham Row Ash Red 2004
Wickham Vineyard is an 18 acre estate on a sheltered south facing slope in Botley Road, Shedfield, Southampton, Hampshire. Established in 1984, it comprises 18 acres producing 25-30,000 bottles of wine each year. There are ten varieties of grapes planted and they are harvested by hand in the traditional way during October each year. The estate has its own winery.

This wine is an easy drinking, medium bodied, fruity table wine, made mainly from Triomphe d'Alsace grapes which are blended with a small amount of Rondo and matured in oak barrels for 10 months before bottling. Deep coloured and pronounced blackcurrant fruit character.  Ready for drinking now but will keep for several years.


Bookers Bolney Wine Estate Dark Harvest 2006
Bottled and produced at Bolney Wine Estate, Foxhole Lane, Bolney, West Sussex. This vineyard began in 1972 and remains in the same family ownership. It has grown from 3 acres of Muller-Thurgau to 23 acres of ten varieties, with currant expansion underway onto another ten acre site. Its own winery has the capacity for 150,000 bottle production per year, 100,000 being the anticipated production for 2012. An unusually large amount of land here is dedicated to red wine production, towards 50%.

This wine is made from predominately Rondo grapes with one third Dornfelder added to the blend, the wine going into used oak barriques for 6 to 12 months before bottling.

Medium body, soft, juicy, full of red berry fruit flavours and cedarwood, giving a lovely complexity on the bouquet and palate and a slightly smoky finish.


Bronze Medal in International Wine & Spirit Competition 2009.

Commended in Decanter World Wine Awards 2009.

Somborne Valley Estate Red 2006
Produced by the Somborne Valley Vineyards at Hoplands Farm, Kings Somborne, near Stockbridge in the heart of Hampshire's Test Valley. It is one of the largest of the vineyards in Hampshire, comprising 20 acres. The winemaking is currently carried out at both Chapel Down and Three Choirs, the longer term plan being for an on site winery.

A blend of Rondo and Regent grapes with subtle characteristics of ripe cherry fruits and a deep plum red colour. Sweet blackcurrant and raspberry flavours. A robust wine which can be drunk now and will be at its best up to 2012.


Steve's Extra
"Apple Desert" from Shawsgate Winery, Badingham Road, Framlingham, Woodbridge, Suffolk.

This is the leading winery in Suffolk, producing its own range of mostly white wines but also being a regional hub providing winemaking facilities for several other wineries. This includes making white wines for New Hall in Essex, the latter making Shawsgate's red wines in a reciprocal arrangement. It dates from 1973 and has been revamped through changes in ownership in 1985 and 2000. The vineyard covers 15 acres of some 16,000 vines, running north-south on clay soils. It was one of the first vineyards to operate a vine leasing scheme where lessees rent a row or more of vines and can have the resulting crop bottled under their own label.

The main grape produced is Bacchus, others being Muller-Thurgau, Reichensteiner, Rondo, Schonburger and Seyval Blanc.

The Apple Desert wine is stated as having a sweet smell and a drier, smokey apple flavour.

My main thanks for the above information are due to the following publications:-

A Guide to the Wines of England and Wales by Philip Williamson, David Moore and Neville Blech.

Grape Britain - A Tour of Britain's Vineyards by David Harvey.

The websites of the vineyards, where they exist.

The brief details provided by The Wine Society and Waitrose Direct.

And articles I have read along the way.