Passing the solstice always makes us feel like we are properly in summer, and at this time of year, the rising temperatures have an effect on our vineyards too.
The warmer weather results in rapid shoot growth and leaf development, which leads onto the flowering stage for our grapevines. What we hope for is a good dry, warm period to enable ‘fruit set’ to occur after successful self-pollination and fertilisation. The small grape berries then enlarge until around the end of August when veraison begins, where the grapes concentrate their efforts on accumulating sugars, degrading acid and ripening their skins.
Update from Essex
It’s been a busy period for our growers since we last checked in with them in May.
Over at Martin’s Lane Vineyard in the village of Stow Maries in Essex – from where we source Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Bacchus grapes – they have finished planting around 7,000 more vines, including a number of specially selected chardonnay and pinot noir clones.
Its location on the River Crouch means Martin’s Lane avoided any damage from the late mid-May frosts that affected so much of the country. With record hours of sunshine, the established vines finished flowering in mid-June at least two weeks earlier than usual, and some welcome rainfall in June encouraged the newly planted vines into leaf.
“All is boding well for an early and rewarding harvest with the prospect of fruit comparable with any previously produced at the site”, says partner Roy Martin.
“Though one learns never to take the English climate for granted and we will know much better over the coming month or so, but fingers crossed.”
Martin’s Lane is one of a select band of growers we work with to provide us with the highest quality grapes for our award-winning Lyme Bay Winery still wines – an approach that is perhaps unique amongst English producers.
“Our wine-making strategy is to produce two tiers of quality English still wines, both focusing solely on what we see as our ‘hero grapes’: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay”, says Lyme Bay Winery managing director James Lambert.
“The first tier is our fruit-forward, approachable wines with excellent value and a versatile palate”, explains James.
“These will be produced every year and showcase both Lyme Bay Winery’s and the UK’s ability to create consistent wines across varying years and weather conditions.
“The second tier is our pinnacle style of premium still wine that will only be produced in vintage years. These celebrate the characters of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and demonstrate the subtleties achievable from an English climate, and the care and attention dedicated to nurturing select English still wine clones from select parcels.”
Chardonnay 2018 release
Our latest release is the 2018 vintage of our Chardonnay and marks the first time we have released a still English wine vintage ahead of an older year – meaning we will move straight on from 2016 to 2018, leaving the 2017 in the cellar.
“As an experienced producer, we consider each harvest in relation to how the growing season will influence the wine – and the 2018 English grape growing season meant both unprecedented quality and yields”, says James.
“Our focus is to ensure each wine has structure and delivers in terms of flavour and varietal character and, as a result, we release each wine when we believe it is ready and most likely to delight discerning drinkers. The cellar team at Lyme Bay believe the 2018 parcels we pressed have developed into a wine of great structure and character now ready to be enjoyed, whereas, by comparison, regular tasting prompted them to judge that the 2017 vintage will develop the great potential it has with a further period of maturation.”
The fermentation was achieved with a mix of wild and Burgundy yeasts and maturation in two-year-old French Oak and stainless steel. The resulting Lyme Bay Chardonnay 2018 is a well-rounded, full-bodied dry wine with subtle buttery flavours and aromas of peach and honey. Lightly oaked, it is extremely versatile in terms of food pairings and complements a range of fish dishes such as creamy fish pies or fish cakes, as well as being equally enjoyable in its own right.
Discounts for English Wine Week 2020
As English Wine week draws to a close we’re extending our special offer until the end of this month. If you’d like to sample some of our best-selling English wines, treat yourself to £2 off Lyme Bay Shoreline 2018 and Pinot Noir Rosé 2018 with code EWW2020still, or enjoy £2.50 off our Lyme Bay Brut Reserve NV with code EWW2020sparkling at checkout.
Head to our online Winery shop to take advantage of our June discounts, or get in touch with our friendly team here at the Winery via email at [email protected] or by calling us on 01297 551355 if you’d like to order by phone.