Derringstone Pinot Meunier 2020
Wonderfully original, this is one of the most exciting English wines on the market. A unique still “blanc de noirs” made from only Pinot Meunier – a grape usually reserved for blending in sparkling wine. The Simpsons have built a reputation for doing things a little differently and their Derringstone Pinot Meunier breaks the mould once again. When first released, the Masters of Wine Susie Barrie and Peter Richards described the inaugural vintage as a “super stylish bottle and the liquid is richly textured and subtly exponential… mouth-filling with nods to both the bakery and patisserie. Something... completely different.”
On the nose there’s poached fruits, apricots, peaches, mango, honeysuckle and spring blossom – almost reminiscent of an English take on a Viognier. Then on the palate, it’s peachy, creamy, delicate and refreshing, like your taste buds have just had a spring clean. There are also intriguing notes of spice, balsamic and red fruit sorbet. Thought to be the very first still Pinot Meunier in England, we recommend trying this with smoked salmon, sashimi, canapés or melon and avocado salsa before everyone else catches on.
Located just outside Canterbury – which is twinned with Reims in the heart of Champagne and has very similar lime-rich chalky soils – you’ll discover Simpsons Wine Estate. This location is no happy accident; it’s a carefully orchestrated strategy that we predict will revolutionise the English Wine world. Ruth and Charles Simpson spent 17 years perfecting their art at their award-winning Domaine Sainte Rose in Languedoc, before setting up their new venture in the stunning Elham Valley (a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty). This kind of winemaking pedigree is somewhat of a rarity in English wine, as many of the recent surge in new winery openings have been set up by people who have made money in The City and are looking for a new challenge.
On visiting the Simpsons Wine Estate – which was bought in 2012, planted in 2014 and opened by Oz Clarke in 2016 – it’s the astonishing attention to detail that strikes you. A recent study by East Anglia University to identify the prime location for vineyards in the UK stopped short of giving exact coordinates for fear of the impact on land prices, but hinted that the very best place was somewhere near Canterbury. When you look at Simpsons’ vineyards, it’s hard not to think they’ve found the magical plots. This area of the North Downs has some of the highest sunshine hours in the UK, their slopes are perfectly positioned to optimise sun capture and protect from winds and frosts, the chalky soils are on the same seam that runs from Champagne, and the maritime influence of the coast being just eight miles away results in a long, slow ripening season that produces immensely complex grapes. While most English wineries use sparkling wine clones for their still wines, Simpsons use clones much like the ones you’ll find in Chablis or Central Otago that are intended primarily for still wines; they bring in experts from France at great expense to help with planting, bottling, labelling and disgorgement; they employ top-of-the-line technology from their oxygen-free press to their in-house analytical tools; their fining is all vegan friendly; and finally, but most importantly, their winery is fitted with a spiral slide so that all visitors leave with a smile on their face. If you needed any further endorsement, then it’s worth pointing out that Taittinger have recently planted vineyards in Kent, and guess who they turned to process some of their first grapes? You’ve guessed it: Simpsons Wine Estate.
£2.93 per 100.00ml
SKU No.: 3380246
Style No.: 859606
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