As the darker evenings draw in, I look forward to getting home, sitting down catching up on the days events with my ‘threenager’ whilst sipping a lovely glass of English fizz. I find myself surprised at the sudden change of season which I really shouldn’t as I have been experiencing it for the last 30 something years! Personal views aside, the sudden change of season does have significance in the world of wine and especially here in the UK. Over the past month our wine tours have seen a wave of activity when visiting our favourite Kent vineyards as September and October are the Harvest months.
Fergus Elias, Head Winemaker at Balfour Winery gave us the lowdown on the 2021 Harvest: A tricky growing season and a late harvest are usually indicators of a poor year. In truth however 2021 is actually *say it quietly* looking pretty good. The protracted growing season has given rise to a high level of phenolic ripeness. Whilst the juices in tank aren’t the sweetest we’ve ever seen they certainly shouldn’t be discounted. The flavour profile this year is very good. What’s in tank right now tastes delicious and on the whole we in the winery are excited to work with the bases currently being produced. It’s not easy but it’s certainly not a lost cause.
It has been so interesting and enjoyable to watch the vineyard and winery teams work together bringing in grapes from the vineyards into their wineries and the smell of crushed grapes has been mouth-watering!
Another big event in the diary for the remainder of the year is the C word! Christmas and wine are the perfect partnership, here in Kent we are totally spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting wines for our Christmas Dinner table.
Here are our 6 top wines for Christmas 2021:
Kits Coty Chardonnay 2018
Hailing from the famed 2018 vintage, this sumptuous, textural white is for the Burgundy lovers! Single vineyard Chardonnay sees French oak barriques, giving a rich finish of toast and butter. The fruit profile is unmistakably English – stewed apple, fresh green apple, and toasted nuts! Big enough to stand up to Turkey!
Lukes Pinot Noir 2020
Luke’s Pinot Noir is one of England’s finest red wines. Created only in exceptional vintages such as the marvellous 2018 and 2020, it is made from vineyards planted specifically for the still wine production. Leaning towards Cool Climate New World regions rather than Burgundy in style due to the clean cherry and mulberry notes and judicious use of new French and American Oak.
A brilliant match with pheasant, partridge, game and roast Romney Marsh lamb.
Gusbourne Sparkling Rose 2017
A perfect start to Christmas morning, a brilliant aperitif or the perfect match for Smoked Salmon!
Delicate pink in appearance, with soft summer berries and floral notes on the nose. The palate shows bright red fruits, driven by ripe strawberries, fresh cherries and redcurrants, with a crisp freshness and creamy, rounded texture on the finish
Herbert Hall Brut 2016
Herbert Hall Winery
The perfect pre-dinner tipple! With it’s white gold colour and very fine bubbles this will be a delight to your tastebuds. Honeysuckle and white peach on the nose. A gentle mousse, soft citrus and stone fruit on the palate with light autolytic characteristics and elderflower on the finish.
A great accompaniment to your Christmas day supper of cold meats, cheeses and salads.
This Rosé is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier all grown on the single estate vineyard in Woodchurch. The wine is made by the talented Mattheiu Elzinga of Litmus Wines who is known for making drinkable and epic wines. Vibrant pale salmon pink in colour this wine displays red fruits, cherry blossom and a hint of lavender on the nose. A complex and crisp palette, packed with fruit flavours with a long and savoury finish.
Special Ortega 2019
A limited edition, dry, full fruit wine, made using single varietal Ortega, picked from a specially selected block of vines in late September 2019. These particular vines are just over 40 years old, so some of the oldest and most established on the Biddenden estate. Just 700 bottles of this wine have been produced, each of which is individually numbered.
Ortega has lots of body and is fruit led, making it the perfect accompaniment to Christmas Pud!
All of the wines listed above are available to buy online from the producer’s websites, or if you come on one of our tours you can visit their cellar doors in person and try before you buy!
With the excitement of Christmas looming but that slight ‘lull’ after Halloween/Bonfire night my thoughts have turned to booking a little staycation locally and I am finding myself spending my evenings on various accommodation websites trying to find that perfect country getaway with that ‘Cameron Diaz in the Holiday’ vibe as my inspo!
Did you know that here at Wine Tours of Kent now offer in house tastings and wine weekends? So, whether you are staycationing with family or a group of friends, it’s the perfect activity to do whilst you have a bit of R&R. See our website for more details.
Stay tuned for next month’s newsletter when I will be talking all things 2022 and doing that ever important countdown to Christmas!
Love Abi x
Founder- Wine Tours of Kent