For my first round-up of 2024 I’ve turned my focus once again to 2022 still wines. The vintage hit its stride right away with some fantastic early releases last year, but it continues to deliver exceptional still wines. For this selection I’ve deliberately strayed from the usual suspects of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and picked a selection of brilliant still wines made from grapes such as Bacchus and Pinot Gris, as well as a couple of excellent blends.
For the Wine of the Month, I’ve selected an English Wine staple in Bacchus – and where better to go than Bacchus pioneers New Hall. Their Single Estate Bacchus 2022 (£16.50) is crisp, classy and textured – a brilliant example of the grape and also really well priced. Next up, Denbies Pinot Gris 2022 (£24.95) has to be one of the very best still wines from them to date, balancing bright, crisp orchard fruit with delicious richness. Also from Surrey, a completely new name in Beare Green Winery with their AAA Pinot Blanc (£24.50) which is one of the best examples I’ve had of this grape in England.
Moving on to the blends: Dalwood’s White 2022 (£15.00) demonstrates brilliant freshness, vibrant fruit and tingling minerality. Meanwhile, Flint Vineyard’s Silex Blanc 2022 (£24.99) has to be one of the most nuanced English white wines out there. It’s made from a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Blanc and 10% Chardonnay and is a must-try. Finally, I couldn’t not include an English rosé. Much like the Silex, I tried the Wraxall Early Pinot Noir Rosé 2022 (£17.50) pre-release last year, and I’ve just had the chance to revisit it this month. Expect ample ripe summer red berries, but still that signature crisp acidity that brings a refreshing balance to a generously ripe style of rosé.
New Hall Single Estate Bacchus 2022
• WINE OF THE MONTH •
New Hall Vineyard has been a stalwart of English Wine, particularly with Bacchus; their history dates back to 1969 and has evolved through multiple winemaking eras.
Bacchus is their staple, and this latest 2022 Single Estate Bacchus was the perfect choice to kickstart my 2024 English wine adventures.
Brisk and crisp with vibrant acidity and limey zestiness, there’s a generously tropical richness of passion fruit and papaya thanks to the ripeness of the 2022 finish. I loved the white pepper and slightly flinty smokiness on the finish.
Denbies Pinot Gris 2022
Grapes: Pinot Gris
It’s great to see this wine back as part of the Denbies single varietal range; this 2022 knocks it out of the park with its richness and intensity. It’s part of a four-strong line-up from Denbies, with the Bacchus, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir also worthy of attention.
On the nose there’s ripe orchard fruit, nectarine and honeysuckle, with zesty freshness and a hint of nuttiness.
This Pinot Gris combines delicious ripe green apple, white peach and floral notes with soft creaminess, floral hints and minerality on the finish. It’s an involving wine, tapping into that classic English fruit-forwardness, but with a depth that is rarely found in English Pinot Gris.
Beare Green Winery – AAA Pinot Blanc 2022
Grapes: Pinot Blanc
From a brand new winery based in Surrey, this is the very first release from Beare Green, made from Pinot Blanc and sourced from the Crouch Valley in Essex. This wine is named AAA after Alsace and Alto-Adige, which is where the influence for this wine came from.
The AAA opens with fresh, clean, green orchard fruit on the nose with pear, apple and lightly floral notes.
The palate is lean and fresh but expands to pear laced with zesty lime. There are hints of white flower and minerals on the crisp, lengthy finish. There’s a real finesse to this wine that makes me excited for this brand-new winery.
Dalwood White Wine 2022
Grapes: Solaris, Madeleine Angevine & Solaris
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of this white blend from Axminster-based Dalwood Vineyard. The 2022 is a lively blend of their signature white grapes Solaris, Madeleine Angevine and Seyval Blanc.
This is a wine for lovers of fresh, crisp whites, those that like their Sauvignon, but want something more considered, or perhaps something to rival a crisp Mediterranean white?
The nose suggests a floral and fruity infusion of white flowers, citrus fruit and pear drops. And the Dalwood delivers exactly that on the palate – spritzy, zesty lemon and grapefruit, pear and papaya, a light salinity and grassiness.
Flint Vineyard Silex Blanc 2022
Grapes: Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc & Chardonnay
If you read my vertical tasting of Flint Vineyard’s Silex Blanc last year, you will know that I was really excited about this wine. It’s the latest in a series of brilliant releases from Norfolk’s Flint Vineyard, with the 2022 being a blend of Pinot Noir (50%), Pinot Blanc (40%) and Chardonnay (10%).
The colour is stunning, lightly bronzed/golden and echoing the nose of peach skin, cranberry, orange peel and ginger.
The palate is rich and indulgent, benefiting from malolactic fermentation as well as time ageing in oak, amphora and stainless steel. The wine is fleshy and ripe, with a fusion of peaches and cream as well as orange, grapefruit zest and a spiced nut complexity. I bought a case immediately after revisiting this – grab it while you still can!
Wraxall Early Pinot Noir Rosé 2022
Grapes: Early Pinot Noir
Is it too early in the year for rosé? No, absolutely not, and this crisp, fragrant 2022 vintage made from the early opening clone of Pinot Noir really caught my attention.
The vineyard at Wraxhall in Somerset was originally established in 1974, before being recently taken over by David Bailey and Lexa Hunt in 2021.
The nose is bright and plentiful, packed full of ripe red berries, grapefruit and slightly herbaceous notes. To taste, an immediate freshness and citrus burst is countered with generous and ripe flavours of strawberry, raspberry and cherry, with just a hint of spice and hedgerow on the finish – quintessentially English, and delicious!
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