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  • Wine and Climate Change: Winemaking in a New World
    Wine and Climate Change: Winemaking in a New World
    by L. J. Johnson-Bell
  • Pairing Wine and Food: A Handbook for All Cuisines
    Pairing Wine and Food: A Handbook for All Cuisines
    by Linda Johnson-Bell
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    Home Cellar Guide Hb
    by Linda Johnson-Bell
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    Quel vin pour quel plat ?
    by Linda Johnson-Bell
  • Great Wine Tours of the World
    Great Wine Tours of the World
    Barnes and Noble Books
  • The Wine Collector's Handbook
    The Wine Collector's Handbook
    by Linda Johnson
  • De juiste wijn bij het juiste gerecht
    De juiste wijn bij het juiste gerecht
    by Johnson-Bell Linda

  • Good Food, Fine Wine: A Practical Guide to Finding the Perfect Match
    Good Food, Fine Wine: A Practical Guide to Finding the Perfect Match
    by LINDA JOHNSON-BELL

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Chapel Down, Kent

Chapel Down holds the place as the “darling” of English wine, and deservedly so.  It is still the largest producer of English wines, sourcing their grapes from their own vineyards both on and off-site from around the Southeast of England and East Anglia. They may be big, with even bigger plans, but the mindset of the Australian winemaker, Andrew Parley, is about making wines the traditional way (hand-harvesting, indigenous yeasts, low alcohol) – and finding an “English” style in an Old World context. There is a fantastic wine shop and bistro where you can taste their wines with the local produce they also sell. They are doing everything right. They use the white grapes Bacchus, Chardonnay, Huxelrebe, Schönburger, Reichensteiner, Seigerrebe and Pinot Blanc and the red Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

 

Andrew says that he is not seeing a huge difference in “terroir” yet, and that frankly, he is more worried about exposition: catching the sun and avoiding the elements. They have a problem with getting their desired yields (as does the rest of England) and sometime struggle to get 1 ton an acre. This is fascinating. When I was in Italy for the last harvests, yields were down there, too, but for the opposite reason: it was too hot. In Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzo, Le Marche … they were all losing 20-30% of the grape yield. Here, they struggle to get them to mature. He adds that eventually, we’ll have an oversupply in the UK. 2010 was already a huge year and most wineries are lagging in production capacity – that will change as they catch up. Contract processing is slowing and more and more people are setting up shop and making their own wines. This is great news. 

Notes on the TANK SAMPLES:

 

1) the sparkling base wine:

60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier

This base wine is from 5 different parcels, varying from clay and chalk from Essex. It has gone through malolactic fermentation. The pH is about 3, and the alcohol will be about 11+. He aims for 12.5˚, not more. He does not need to chaptalise. He can get a phenolic maturation at 11˚. Sugars went up this year because the berries were so small. Fungal diseases can be a problem, but this year has been great.

 

2) 2011 Chardonnay

Unoaked style from chalky parcels. Underwent a full malolactic. It is unchaptalised, and will still be at 13˚. No new oak – that would kill it, he said. He mixed clones, mixed parcels from different soils, chalk and clay. He is really experimenting - wants Chablis

2010 will need chaptalising. This is really nice.  Fresh and clean with a good finish. I don’t know if it is important to “copy” the Chablis model, but he seems to have captured the acidity and steeliness of it without forgetting the expression of the English fruit – it works beautifully.

 

3) 2011 Pinot Bianco

Used indigenous yeasts. This will develop nicely. Good.

 

Notes from Tasting Room:


1. English Rose Sparkling NV

Pinot Noir. NV but mostly 2008. Nose is stunning: great fruit with acidity and freshness. Nice palate, nice texture. Finish has a touch of bitterness, but altogether a pleasure.


2. Vintage Reserve Brut

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Lovely: fine and elegant.  Nose is yeasty with a crisp palate of ripe apples and peaches. Recently disgorged. Sur lies for four years and some, so that is good.  


3. Pinot Reserve 2005
Nice. A yeasty, tight nose. Palate is clean with a fruity complexity. A fresh, lively and elegant wine

4. Bacchus 2010
Melon, peaches and freshly cut hay … this is such an interesting grape and everyone seems to be interpreting it their own way. This is certainly a good example of what it can really do: a well-structured and balanced wine.


5. Reserve Chardonnay 2010
This is really good. Underwent a full malolactic and the oak does dominate the fruit too much: preferred the unoaked version. Still, well-made and a very English expression of this French varietal – exciting stuff.


6. Pinot Noir 2011 tank sample
I am hoping that Pinot Noir becomes a real specialty in England. I am tasting a variety of attempts – I wish more people were giving it a go … This one is sort of northern Italian in style but with a slightly medicinal finish. Bearing in mind that it is a tank sample, I will eagerly return to this wine once bottled: the potential is there.

 

The Chapel Down Winery

Tenterden Vineyard

Small Hythe, Tenerden

Kent TN30 7NG

Tel: 01580 753033

www.chapeldown.com 

sales@chapeldown.com

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    855 You'll need 9 darkish strips and eight white strips for your weave. The only real constant that remains in our children's lives, 12 months in, year out, lv personalized bag would seem to generally be their almost phobic distaste for walking.
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    Chapel Down, Kent - TASTING NOTES: Diary of a Wine Critic - The Wine Lady & Climate Change and Wine
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    Chapel Down, Kent - TASTING NOTES: Diary of a Wine Critic - The Wine Lady & Climate Change and Wine
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    Response: Rashmi Patel
    Chapel Down, Kent - TASTING NOTES: Diary of a Wine Critic - The Wine Lady & Climate Change and Wine
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    Chapel Down, Kent - TASTING NOTES: Diary of a Wine Critic - The Wine Lady & Climate Change and Wine

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