Great British Wine Round-up November 2023

As we move closer to Christmas, I’ve picked a selection of top new English still and sparkling releases for my November round-up. I’ve tried a fair bit of sparkling wine this month, and have put together a selection of fresh, youthful and also more complex styles. Everflyht’s second NV Brut release, based on the 2020 vintage, ultimately stood out with its bustling energy, and at £28 a bottle it represents exceptional value. Kinsbrook’s Kin Sparkling White 2019 is their first home-grown sparkling, and it’s delectable with its racy freshness but marked biscuity complexity.

One of my local favourites, Albury Estate, has also recently released its latest Prestige Cuvée 2018. An English prestige cuvée at under £43 is quite a bargain, and this is an accomplished and textured release that will improve further with more time in the bottle. Rounding off my sparkling selection is Roebuck’s new Reserve 2020 – available nationally from Majestic at just under £30. It’s a bright, fresh and fruit-forward sparkler that is well-positioned for those venturing into the world of English fizz. My sparkling journey this month ends with Swanaford’s ‘From Small Acorns’ – another well-priced sparkling (it’s £34.95) with deeper complex tones.

Meanwhile, on the still side, I’ve selected two recent 2022 vintage releases. Nine Oaks Chardonnay 2022 impressed with its steely Chablis-like freshness and bursts of green apple and citrus. Finally, I close on an uber-limited release, the Natalia Harris Ortega & Solaris blend 2022 – a vibrant, fragrant and fruity white with striking texture.

Do look out in a week or so for my final round-up of the year with a focus on seasonal indulgence in both sparkling and red wine form.

Everflyht Brut NV ‘B20’


Grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier
Region: Sussex

This is Everflyht’s second Brut NV release, based on the warm 2020 with 10% reserve wine in the blend; 17% of the blend was barrel fermented. Everflyht’s style is low intervention with a low dosage of 2g/l.

This has an evocative nose of red apple, citrus zest, peach and biscuity aromas, with a decidedly nutty twist that adds interest.

To taste, the Everflyht is uber-fresh thanks to the very low dosage, with racy acidity, crisp green apple and lemon. There’s classic British orchard freshness, beautiful precision with just a hint of biscuity complexity. This is bright and brilliant, with a lively lengthy saline, mineral finish.

KIN Sparkling White 2019

Grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier
Region: Kent

While not the first sparkling wine to be released under a Kinsbrook label, this is their first to be homegrown, made from predominantly Chardonnay and one-third Pinot Noir/Meunier that were planted in 2017.

On the nose, the Kin has aromas of ripe Pink Lady apples, pear and a hint of white peach, with floral notes and a suggestion of indulgent buttery brioche.

The palate embraces that playful energy the nose exhibited. This is resolutely fruit-forward and easy drinking, while retaining finesse and restraint. Overall, this is a decidedly lovely ‘debut’ sparkling release that continues much in the vein of Kinsbrook’s recent stylish and playful English wine releases.

Albury Prestige Cuvée 2018

Grapes: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier & Chardonnay
Region: Surrey

As the flagship wine from Albury Estate, this is a classic blend of the very best biodynamically grown Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay with four years lees ageing.

The nose is playful and rich, with citrus zest, crisp apple and pear aromas, notes of baked pastry and a hint of spice and vanilla.

The palate is elegant, soft and rounded with a citrus burst that leads to buttery softness, and rich peach and pear flavours. There’s some light nuttiness and hints of savoury depth, with a hint of orange blossom and nectarine on the finish.

Roebuck Reserve 2020

Grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier
Region: Sussex

This wine represents something of a stylistic departure for Roebuck, who have established themselves as a producer that releases sparkling wine with significant ageing. This new Reserve 2020 is a fresher, zippier take and a blend of 56% Chardonnay, 29% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier.

The nose is classically English with vibrant and fragrant orchard fruit, wafts of peach and floral notes, that signature twist of citrus and a hint of pastry.

The palate is fruit-forward and significantly less savoury than the main Roebuck wines. There are lots of crisp and crunchy green apple and pear flavours, suggestions of stone fruit and generosity, and a fresh, clean finish. This is well positioned as an entry point to Roebuck at just under £30.

Swanaford ‘From Small Acorns’ 2019

Grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier
Region: Devon

Swanaford planted their vineyard in Bridford (near Exeter) in 2013, and this is their aptly titled flagship wine, ‘From Small Acorns’. This is a well-priced flagship cuvée and a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay from 2019.

The ‘Acorns’ has an alluring golden hue in the glass, and a developed, complex nose, rich with toast and brioche, roasted hazelnut, as well as orchard fruit and lemon zest.

To taste there’s an immediate burst of lemon freshness and crunchy green apple. There’s also the toastiness the nose suggested, with red apple and hints of blood orange. It’s a deep and textured expression, and very versatile as a food pairing sparkler.

Nine Oaks Chardonnay 2022

Grapes: Chardonnay
Region: Kent

Nine Oaks, based in Hothfield, just outside Ashford, is one of the new breed of English family vineyards. The 2022 vintage saw the first fruit harvested from the vineyards, and this bright Chardonnay is one of the resulting debut wines.

This Chardonnay has a brisk and clean nose, classicly Kentish, with ripe apple and pear, zesty lemon, hints of peach and just a touch of oak in the background.

The palate has a nice burst of green apple and lemon, with softer stone fruit tones and a clean crisp acidity to hold it all together. This is a clean and modern style of Chardonnay that makes a statement as a first release.

Natalia Harris 2022

Grapes: Ortega & Solaris
Region: Sussex

Natalia Harris is the work of Davenport Vineyard manager Philip Harris and his wife Natalia. Their two-hectare vineyard was planted in 2019 with a focus on still wine production.

This debut release, a blend of Ortega and Solaris, is a modern, low-intervention take on the quintessential English wine blend. There are aromas of pear drops, grapefruit and honeysuckle, with a hint of rose and tropical fruit.

To taste, the wine opens with lively acidity and crisp citrus flavours, which are interleaved with floral and tropical fruit hues. There’s a fine line of minerality and a hint of dried grass. Overall, this is a textural delight.

Posted in Monthly Round-Up.

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