Text contributed by M-L; pics by M-L and Carolyn
On Sunday a group of wine enthusiasts joined Carolyn for a wine tasting at Deham Vale Vineyard on the edge of the AONB in East Sussex. It was a lovely sunny day in a beautiful location with good company – what more could one want? Apart from some wine, of course.
During an interesting tour of the vineyard we were told about its 25-year history and future plans to bring together a number of initiatives concerned with conservation on the 40-acre plot. The vineyard has the equipment to process the grapes grown on the Dedham Vale property and a further 12 acres near Colchester, and even suggest that if you have grapes of your own to bring them along and they will ‘turn them into your very own vintage’! This year has been a bit of a disaster, however, because an April frost killed off around half the grape blooms and, while some of the vines re-flowered, there is probably not enough sunshine left to ripen them before winter strikes.
Following the tour we gathered around a table in the tasting barn to sample two whites, one rosé, one red, and a sparkling wine – followed by a pleasant cold collation. Personally, I was keen to attend the event because, prior to last Sunday, I have not enjoyed the English wines I have encountered over many decades of varied wine consumption, finding them somewhat thin, acid, inappropriately floral or overly citrus – and rather expensive. To be blunt, my opinion has not changed very much. It was a lot of fun tasting, commenting, comparing, but no one was tempted to splurge on a case at £12 per bottle. Still, the wines had hope, and opened my mind to tasting more English wines in the future – though, in my opinion, they are not about to nudge the great wine-growing areas of the world aside.
It was a thoroughly entertaining day out, ending with a pleasant stroll in the woods nearby, and we enjoyed ourselves so much there is talk of doing it again in a different venue – something to look forward to. Many thanks for organising it Carolyn.