Tour and Tasting at The Mount Vineyard
The sun is shining, it’s a Sunday and you are thirty? What should you do? What any sane adult should do – go visit a vineyard. And as our English wines continue to get better, so does the hospitality in our English Vineyards.
So, I popped down to The Mount Vineyard which is located just South East of the M25 in Sevenoaks. This is a short distance from London if you are after a little green and fresher air.
This is a 28-acre property dating back to the Victorian times. We can all thank Jon Moulton who came along and planted 10 acres of vines in 2004, although the man with the plan that we really need to be thanking is Simon Greenwood; Owner of the property and is responsible for the amazing Restaurant built on site with pizza oven (yum!) and retractable glass roof which this summer, has surprisingly been used several times. Just this Easter the stunning Orchard Tasting room was built, and guess what? That also has a retractable roof. Imagine tanning yourself and learning about wine at the same time. There has never been a better time to go visit The Mount Vineyard.
They grow 8 different grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Rondo, Regent, Seyval Blanc, Phoenix, Siegerrebe and Bacchus. Generally, 6 different wines are made each year, but this can always change due to our beautifully unpredictable weather. Since 2008 they have made 20 different wines. This is something we should appreciate when it comes to English wine. The quantities are limited and so we can’t get complacent – Visiting small vineyards such as The Mount Vineyard will always offer you a surprise as to what you can drink.
There is no winery on site, but the wine making process is very safely in the hand of Litmus (at Denbies Winery down in Dorking, Surrey ). John Worontschak owns and operates Litmus. If you know anything about John who has been making wines in England since 1988, you will realise his vision and ability to make premium English wines means that The Mount Vineyard are putting their grapes in to very safe hands.
The wine tasting
Note: They serve generous glass pours so try your best not to be the designated driver. That would suck.
You will have 5 different wines to try and included with the tasting is a cheese and charcuterie board.
As you amble amongst the Rondo and Pinot vines, with a glass of fizz in hand, you learn the history of this gorgeous properly and then head back in for the rest of the wines. Find my tasting notes below:
Sparkling Red 2015 £40 – Gosh, I love a happy accident and happy this accident is. In 2015 with an extra quantity of Pinot Noir, Rondo and Regent grapes it was thought a good idea to experiment with them and make a traditional method red sparkling wine. The accident part was forgetting about the bottles for 3 years which had spent all that time on its lees (the natural yeast that gives bready, biscuit notes to champagne and other sparkling wines made this way). The time in bottle has only enhanced the flavours of this wine. Nobody else is doing this blend of wine and with only 1000 bottles made, and the fact that only a handful of Red sparkling wines are produced in England, it’s a great wine to seek out.
When tasting the wine, imagine Sangria but far more complex. Think blackcurrant, blackberries and flowers on the nose with a hint of licorice and clove. As the wine warms up slightly (it is served perfectly cold) you get more notes of chocolate. The palate is juicy and fresh with ripe black cherries, the fruit is concentrated, and the bubbles are soft and approachable.
Flint Dry 2018 £23 – This is mainly Bacchus with a small amount of Phoenix and Sevyal Blanc and it is such a surprise. It genuinely looks like you have water in the glass, it is so pale, but man does it pack a punch on the nose. For anyone who has read my post on Bacchus, you will know that Elderflower is a big prominent flavor profile of this grape variety, and the aromas are all Elderflower here. There’s guava and passionfruit jumping around giving you a lively and tropical nose. The fruits are pungent, and reminiscent of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. To finish there are little hints of dried lavender. On the palate expect a Medium body with peachy flavours and a lemon lime zing. The more you drink, the more you hit the full fruit spectrum. The finish is quite short but the fleshy texture and great fruit flavours make up for this.
Rose Key 2018 £23 – This is made for 100% Rondo grapes and is vibrant pink in the glass. It is all raspberries and strawberries on the nose with a hint of watermelon. It’s not too complex but nice and fruity. The palate has the same fruits but additionally some rhubarb and cranberries. It is dry, even with all the fruits, slightly less than medium bodied and just about enough acidity to give the wine a refreshing finish. This is a very easy drinker.
Pinot Noir 2018 £24 – Pale and super bright ruby in the glass. It is really in your face at the moment, but it has just been bottled. Lots of black raspberries and red cherries. On the palate it’s all red fruits with a touch of sweetness and good acidity. It has a bubblegum edge to the fruit but that is because it is so young. Just to show how well this wine will age, we compared this against the 2015, and wow: I advise you all to buy a few bottles of the 2018 and hold it back. You will be rewarded. Both wines see about 5 months of old oak barrels, and the 2015 is showing just what time in barrel and bottle can do. Think Red cherries, plums and balsamic with soy sauce and a slightly gamey, smoky character. The wine is medium bodied with a plummy, earthiness on the palate, super soft tannins and lovely high acidity. I am not a fan of English Pinot Noir’s as a rule as I think we do better with our whites, but I have to say this has changed my mind.
Sparkling Brut 2013 – This is made from Seyval Blanc, Phoenix and Pinot Noir with 3 years on the lees. There is such a beautiful brioche on the nose followed by white blossom and a very crisp green apples. With a little aeration fresh lemon also make an appearance. I am surprised by how fresh this wine still is. It is perfect drinking right now. Sadly, they only have one or two bottles of this left but watch out for when their next white sparkling makes an appearance and grab some whilst there are some