Friday, 25 September 2015

A True English Gem - Stopham Estate Pinot Gris

I think I'm pretty certain on this, when I say that this is the first English wine to make it on here, which has to say something about it! Based down in Pulborough, East Sussex on the south downs, Stopham Estate is the brainchild Simon Woodhead, who swapped is previous career designing parts for McLaren F1 cars to studying winemaking at Plumpton and then planting his own vineyard in 2007.

They grow several different varieties, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc with a little Bacchus and Auxerrois, to blend with in producing their still whites. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for their sparkling and some Dornfelder which they use to produce their rose. They have also invested heavily in the vineyard using laser tracking to ensure all the vines are spaced equally, to installing all the latest fermentation equipment into the winery and bottling all under inert gases to help preserve the freshness of their wines.

In the glass it had this lovely bright lemon colour to it, with pronounced aromas of sweet stone fruit, peaches and nectarines, with hints of elderflower coming through from the background. On the palate, there is a tiny hint of sweetness, with the delicious flavours of stone fruit, elderflower and citrus, it has a lovely soft acidity that developed a little tartness on the finish, which kind of awakens your palate and makes your mouth water. Combine this with the fruit and floral characters and you end up with an extremely enjoyable glass of wine, even better when it comes from one of our own vineyards!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

A Hoppy Brew - Andwell Brewery

I've been drinking a lot of beer recently, not sure how good a thing that is, I'm not very good on beer for some reason, but I came across these guys, Andwells Brewery through work. We'd got their full range in, which include several different style of ales and seasonal ones, but one that really caught mine and a few of the other guys eye's, apart from the very inspired packaging, was the Dry Hopped Pilsner.

Now dry hopping is when the brewer, after the fermentation process and the beer is maturing throws in a handful of dry hops, at Andwells they use the Japanese hop, Sorachi Ace, in doing this they get none of the bitterness from the hops just extra pungent aromas of citrus to the Pilsner;

Andwell Dry Hopped Pilsner

It has an amber/golden colour to it, as well as being slightly cloudy, it has extremely pungent aromas of citrus from the dry hopping process. You then get the lovely bitterness of the Pilsner come through and combine to create an extremely drinkable and delicious beer.

Picture courtesy of Andwell Brewery
Again through work, they sent me a sample of the normal Pilsner;

Andwell Pilsner

This is a cracking little Pilsner style lager, brewed using English barley with the noble Czech Saaz hop for that classic Pilsner style, with some German Tettnang added to give it a slightly spicy aroma. It was lovely and crisp, with a touch of richness to it, combined with a perfect bitter character to boot, very drinkable cracking little beer.

I have to say I pretty much enjoyed all the beers in there range, but the star for me was definitely the dry hopped Pilsner.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

A Little Star from North Western Italy - Livon Friulano

Livon are a family run winery situated in the North Eastern part of the Friuli Venezia Guilia region in Northern Italy on the borders with Slovenia and Austria. Dorino Livon purchased his first vineyards in the region in 1964, and has continued to grow the estate over the years, while he has also built a state of the art winery. In 1980 Dorino's two sons Valneo and Tonino joined the company and started to create different ranges from the vineyards that they owned, with some being very small production from a selection of there best sites. They have continued to grow and the family now own another four wineries, two of which Tenuta Roncaldo and Villa Chiopris are also in Friuli, Borgo Salcetino is in Tuscany and Fattoria Col Santo are from Umbria. They grow a wide selection of both Indigenous and International grape varieties, producing an equally as wide range of wines across their entire portfolio.

The wine I want to talk about though is the 2013 Livon Friulano, the Friulano grape is also known as Sauvignon Vert, which many people actually get confused with, and refer to it as Sauvignon Blanc, which despite the similarities in their names, are of no relation.

The grapes are all harvested by hand and then fermented in stainless steel tanks, where they spend a further 5 months before being bottled, spending a little bit more time before being released.

In the glass, the wine had a lovely bright straw colour to it with some delicate greens hints. On the nose it was very aromatic, with some lovely fruit, hints of spice and Almonds. These all came through on the palate, the wine itself had quite a rich mouth feel to it which was perfectly balanced to the acidity, that cut straight through it and stopping it from being too rich and over the top. All the components came together perfectly with this wine, producing something that had a great depth and complexity while maintaining a freshness to it that made it extremely enjoyable.