jamie goode's wine blog: Springtime...almost here - a visit to Denbies

Friday, April 04, 2008

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.

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At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Denbies is not really the UK's "largest vineyard" - although it is the largest area of vines in the UK in one continuous unbroken block. Chapel Down produces the largest volume of English Wine and has the largest area of vines at their disposal (owned or under contract to supply grapes).

At 5:55 AM, Blogger Stephen Skelton said...

I didn't mean that to be anonnymouse. Stephen Skelton.

At 9:28 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Has the UK's largest vineyard? Not the UK's largest winery, I agree. What is your impression of Denbies' wines, Stephen?

At 6:40 PM, Blogger Douglas Blyde said...

Lovely chap, Marcus. He used to charter oil tankers!


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