By Kat Hounsell
Something rather special is happening this summer, and I’m not just talking about the big ‘O’. I am referring to the growing demand for English wines, which will be in full swing this summer when the world’s eyes will turn to our sunny little island. In honour of a summer of all things British and following lots of wall to wall sunshine here in the UK, this week’s wine of the week podium is graced by a’Beckett’s Estate Rosé 2010.
Only a few years ago the concept of quality, still English wines would have received a snigger or two, however with more than 404 vineyards now dotted across the country and lots of quality wines emerging, international producers have found a new contender on the market. a’Beckett’s winery in the West of England is a prime example of the high quality wines being produced on our shores.
The home of a’Beckett’s, run by the Langham family, is found not too far from historical Stonehenge in the lee of Salisbury Plains. Here the east and south facing slopes within a sheltered valley offer a micro climate and light soils that are great for producing this boutique range of crisp whites and rosés, alongside cider and apple juice from the traditional orchards.
The Langham’s contribution to the UK’s vineyards, began in 2001 when they planted their first 5000 vines across 55 rows stretching just for over 5 miles; quite an investment for the pioneering vineyard. However now, due to increased demand for their great wines, a’Beckett’s planted an additional 4,300 vines including 3,300 Pinot Noir vines in 2010.
Their 2010 Estate Rosé is a blend of a Reichensteiner, a white grape originally bred in Germany during the 1930’s, and Pinot Noir. This varietal blend has created an off-dry pale rosé, which has a nose packed full of rose petals and sweet berry fruit. The palate is characterised by pronounced berry fruit and a balanced acidity. The wine’s lower ABV of 11% and residual sugar of 7.6g/L make this a perfect picnic basket wine, which has the added bonus of being vegetarian and vegan friendly.
So as we enter a sunny spring, last week marked the launch of Bibendum’s British Summer Time campaign (BST), which will continue until the clocks wind back in October. The campaign is a chance to celebrate the best of what our country has to offer and we are privileged to announce 9 new wines joining the Bibendum portfolio from 5 British producers this year. This includes the likes of Furleigh Estate (Dorset), Nyetimber (Sussex) and a’Beckett’s (Wiltshire), lining up alongside long standing Bibendum producers Chapel Down (Kent) and Hush Heath Estate (Kent).
Sunny afternoons dangling my legs over a pier edge whilst enjoying a pint of punchy scrumpy are going on hold this year. Summer 2012 is the time to lay back in a deckchair, soak up the sun and watch The Games with a glass of English wine.