Thursday, 9 June 2016

Jancis Robinson.



When I started out in the wine business, there were two people neither of which I have ever met that had a huge influence on me. One was Hugh Johnson and the other was Jancis Robinson. Today there is a whole industry of wine commentators all vying for PR spend of mega bucks wineries but it is still frustratingly rare to find writers that have their happy combination of a fine palate and unforced erudition. Because of this, it is a distinct honour that of 84 English wines tasted on Jancis Robinson.com, only three scored higher than the 17/20 of our 2011 Sparkling. The article is on the purple pages of http://www.jancisrobinson.com/ which are subscription only (something well worth paying for if you're into your wine) but I hope they won't mind me posting it here.
Almost everything about English (and Welsh) wine gives cause for cheer. Labelling is getting better and better, with only a few old-fashioned 'cottage industry' style brands remaining. Plenty of newcomers are releasing their first vintages, keeping the old hands on their toes (so to speak) and giving us Brits a diverse homegrown industry to be proud of.
Smith & Evans, Higher Plot Somerset Chardonnay/Pinot 2011 England
Guy Smith and Laura Evans. 40% Pinot Noir, 35% Meunier and 20% Chardonnay. Some 2010 reserve wine. RS 6 g/l. No chaptalisation. Around a third of the wine had three months in third-use French oak from Chateau Smith Haut Lafite, 'sadly no relation!' From low-yielding Dijon clones rather than champagne clones; 'Being burgundian they are intended for interesting still wine which is our starting point'.
Not much nose (to begin with, although it did open up more a couple of days later and kept a very good mousse as well). Fine tight-clenched bead. Super-linear, leafy, laurel, lime. Very appetising, some leesy richness only becoming apparent with time in glass - it's one of those wines that seems quite reticent and first and then opens up to reveal lovely depth. A very gentle aniseed note. Gorgeous tension. Layered. Incredibly good and just their second vintage. One to watch! (TC) 12%
Drink 2016-2021

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