Sixteen Ridges vineyard is based in Worcestershire on a sheltered hillside with views along the river Severn valley. The vineyard was first established by Simon Day, with 6 acres of Pinot Noir being planted in 2007. Simon’s experience in English winemaking is prolific; spanning work as grower and winemaker for numerous producers including Denbies Wine Estate and Three Choirs Vineyards.
A further 4-acre vineyard was planted at Redbank, with plans to double the acreage during the course of 2016. With quick expansion and also an award winning cider business called Once Upon a Tree, a new business Haygrove Evolution was established to parent the wine & cider business as well as offer contract wine making and consultancy, amongst other services.
The grapes currently grown at Sixteen Ridges are Pinot Noir, Seyval Blanc and Bacchus, with a focus on sparkling wines and a number of excellent still interpretations of Pinot Noir. Their red Pinot Noir Early has already gained international acclaim with a Bronze Medal being awarded at last year's Decanter World Wine Awards.
I’ve had the opportunity to taste the two still Pinots, as well as their two newly released Sparkling wines; a sparkling Pinot Noir and the Signature Cuvée, which is a blend of Pinot Noir and Seyval Blanc.
Sixteen Ridges Pinot Noir Early 2013
Grapes: Pinot Noir
The first time I came across Sixteen Ridges Vineyard was during the publishing of last year’s Decanter World Wine awards. My first tasting of Sixteen Ridges wines is their Bronze medal winning Pinot Noir Early 2013 appears to be the perfect starting point.
Whilst this wine has the light complexion expected from an English red wine, there's a beautiful deep red colour with magenta hues.
On the nose, bright fresh red berry aromas of raspberry and youthful red cherry. There are also delightfully subtle notes of woody spice and vanilla.
The wine’s delicate profile is maintained on the palate; mild acidity with a distinct cranberry tang leads to a smooth cherry mid-taste. There’s very light tannin texture on the finish, as well as masterfully implemented spiced oaky flavours to leave you wanting more.
I’m really impressed with this wine. It retails at £15.49 a bottle, which makes it one of the more affordable examples of a decent English still red wine.
Sixteen Ridges White Pinot Noir 2013
Grapes: Pinot Noir
I’m starting to develop quite a taste for English White Pinot, and think its very exciting that England is starting to embrace this style of white wine made from red grapes.
It has got a very appealing colour in the glass; golden with a subtle pale pink colour.
On the nose, there’s a super-interesting mix of lemon, floral and real distinct top notes of fresh strawberry suggesting the wines red grape origin.
This wine's curious character continues through on the palate. Mild acidity and citrus flavours up front before a fuller mid taste develops with fruit flavours of pear and white peach. Those lovely juicy English red berry flavours appear, and in fact it’s the red fruit flavours that leave a lasting impression on the finish.
The label suggested a food pairing of grilled fish or chicken, however we took it a step further and paired with roasted chicken on Easter Sunday and it was a perfect pairing. I can also see it drinking beautifully over the summer with delicately seasoned seafood dishes.
Sixteen Ridges Pinot Noir Sparkling Rosé 2013
Grapes: Pinot Noir
This single varietal Pinot Noir Sparkling from Sixteen Ridges is perhaps their finest moment so far. This pale-salmon coloured beauty has spent 12 months on the lees with a dosage of 5g/l.
With a delicately pale pink colour in the glass, this wine is sending all the right messages. On the nose is a lovely summery berry fusion of strawberry, raspberry and cranberry.
This wine delivers equally on the palate, with its surprisingly clarity with citrus and slight cranberry & cherry tang upfront. The acidity is racy and refreshing, before a lovely smooth strawberries & cream mid-taste begins.
Overall, this is everything an English Rosé should be; approachable and super refreshing upfront with a lovely smooth summer berry character and delightful creamy texture.
Sixteen Ridges Signature Sparkling 2013
Grapes: Pinot Noir & Seyval Blanc
This wine has a significantly different character to the Rosé, and is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir with 40% Seyval Blanc. It has spent 12 months on its lees with a dosage of 7g/l.
I’m finding it a little less expressive than the Rosé on the nose, but there is an interesting fusion of green apple and white flower aromas, with subtle citrus and hints of nutty notes.
Much like the Rosé, this wine has a rather elegant and clean character upfront; the taste is all about the clean apple and pear flavours. There’s some citrus in there too, but it’s subtle and curiously more lime than lemon.
From previous experience, I would say that Seyval Blanc is not my favourite white grape as a base for Sparkling wine. But what it does bring to this wine is a clean fresh character with a light floral air. Its lightness would make it a great aperitif and one for those that don’t enjoy the dryer weighty character of the more Champagne-style sparkling wines.