Springtime...almost here - a visit to Denbies
It has been a rather gentle end to the week. Today I visited Denbies, which for a long time has been England's largest winery, in a beautiful setting on the north Downs, near Dorking. I was due there at 1030, but because of excellent traffic arrived almost an hour early, so I went for a wander on Box Hill. It was a beautiful spring morning, with gently warming sunshine filtered through some light cloud cover. The countryside is slowly wakening after what seems like a very long winter - it's a great time of year. Seemed strange going for a walk without the dog, though.
At Denbies, Sam Harrop, John Worontshak and I were meeting with the Denbies team to discuss a potential project. First, we tasted through some of the wines with Marcus Sharp, who heads up the winemaking team. I was really impressed: the Champagne-method sparkling wines were really good, and the varietal series, including Schoenberger, Bacchus, Ortega, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, were very smart wines. From the evidence of this and other experiences I've had recently, English wine seems to be progressing really well. At lunch we tried a 2003 Chardonnay that was really stylish: admittedly, 2003 was a bit of a freak year, but this wine is proof of what can be achieved in our possibly not so marginal climate after all.