Domestic Sluttery is changing! Visit our new homepage to check out our fabulous makeover.


Friday 27 April 2012

Weekly Wine: Yorkshire Vineyards

I haven't really championed English wine in the past, believing there to be better value equivalents elsewhere in the world. I just haven't seen enough to excite me into going all patriotic about wine, although global warming and advances in technology do appear to be making British soils (and its producers) more and more suitable to producing really good stuff.

Yorkshire Week here on Domestic Sluttery, however, has unearthed more than enough examples to make me begin to sip my words along with a little portion of humble pie. Being the home of 'Last of the Summer Wine', I probably should have known better.

Leventhorpe Vineyards

If you think winemaking in Yorkshire is a new thing, you'd be totally wrong: George and Janet Bowden of Leventhorpe vineyards near Leeds have been making wine there now for nearly thirty years. For them, it's all about "location, location, location": he chose their five-acre site specifically because of it's unique, brilliant soil and sheltered slope, knowing these conditions could make excellent wine. This concept of 'terroir' is what makes many classic French wines great, and George takes it so seriously that he hasn't expanded the site since they began to grow on it in 1985 because the neighbouring fields don't come up to scratch.

The Bowden's passion is all in the wine-growing: they don't have a website, they don't actively advertise, they haven't developed their precious acres into hotel complexes or twee restaurants to make extra money. They rely on word-of-mouth recommendations, and yet they have an impressive spectrum of high-profile fans: Oz Clarke continues to praise their wine, particularly for its uniquely recognisable character (the holy grail of winemaking to many), Rick Stein included it in his Guide, and their wine has been recommended by Jancis Robinson, several broadsheets, and even Decanter Magazine.

White: Madeleine Angevine, £10.90 from Slurp
Delicate, smooth, peachy wine that is the perfect match for food with a bit of spice.

Sparkling: Leventhorpe Sparkling, £17.00 - direct from vineyard (0113 288 9088)
Light but complex, with both appley fruit and the traditional yeasty biscuit character you'd expect from a fine sparkler. You don't find much decent Champagne at this price though - a bit of a bargain if you're looking for something special and want to support English vineyards.

You can visit Leventhorpe most days, (just get in touch, and they might even let you taste their wines when you get there), but George warned me - despite their reputation that rivals many a French vineyard- not to expect a Chateau. "We do have a shed, though." He's just a bit brilliant.

Ryedale Vineyards

Run by Stuart and Elizabeth Smith, Ryedale vineyards is the most northerly commercial vineyard in England. Like Leventhorpe, Ryedale have also made innovations in Yorkshire winemaking in recent years: they were the first in the region to produce a sparkling rose - named 'A Taste of Paradise' - but they also produce other white, rose and sparkling wines with similarly epic names.

My favourite is Yorkshire Lass - an aromatic white that you can buy direct from Ryedale (01653 658507), but I'm also keen to try a glass of Yorkshire Sunset: a coppery pink wine filled with strawberry character that I would save for a summer evening. It's £9.54 from Yorkshire Vintners.

Other up-and-coming vineyards include Holmfirth - a relatively new venture who are already attracting a lot of attention and winning international awards for their wines. You can purchase their wines direct from their online shop - their Holmfirth Red is catching my eye as you don't see many red wines grown the region. They use the rondo and regent grapes which are popular throughout English wineries, and I'm excited to try it. It's £9.99.

Image taken from John-Morgan's photostream under the Creative Commons License

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...