Talking Wine – December 2013

For years rather obscure grape varieties planted in the UK were considered more suitable to the English growing conditions but with the massive growth in sparkling wine we have seen Chardonnay and Pinot Noir planted in mass on the chalk soils of the South Downs. Now I read that Denbies, based just outside Dorking and one of the older and better known producers, are harvesting some Sauvignon Blanc for the first time. The UK has always had a marginal climate for Sauvignon Blanc but, according to the vineyard’s winemaker, with improved clonal selection, soil analysis and a better understanding of wine making in cooler climates we may soon all be drinking our own ‘Sancerre’. Top marks to Denbies who have always tried to be at the forefront of what they do. However there is talk of them trying to oak the Sauvignon – not something that usually works in my opinion!!