Simpsons wine estate kent

Interesting tasting of Kent producer, Simpson's Estate Wines. The experience of successfully establishing a southern French wine estate is really on display as the wines offered appeared carefully conceived and delicious to taste.

The Chalklands Classic Cuvée 2016 is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown on the chalky North Downs in Kent. Aged for 3 years on lees, it has a notably attractive texture and notes of cooked pear. A very good bubbly indeed. It will be interesting to see how it evolves over time. 

deringstone pinot meunierThe Deringstone Pinot Meunier 2018, blanc de noirs, has attractive fruit aromas and a soft textured mouthfeel with fab balance of acidity and red fruit creaminess. Really attractive and interesting. Single variety Meunier wines produced along the Marne in Champagne are finding lots of admirers and it is good to see that it has found an equally impressive expression in SE England.

The still Gravel Castle Chardonnay, Charles dubbed the ‘Baby Brother’ of their Roman Road Chardonnay (that I absolutely loved when I tasted last year), is a little more aromatic and softer than the lean focused Roman Road but still a very attractive Chardonnay made from Burgundian clones.

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The Rabbit Hole Pinot Noir 2018 had fresh ripe fruit, easily mistakable as Burgundian. Not surprising as it is made from a Burgundian clone, 115. The Simpson's vowed they would never venture down the still wine road and double vowed not to produce still red. Well here is the result of broken vows! It is very young but had a great concentration of fruit. All, in our little tasting circle, were very impressed. 

The Simpson’s produced 5000 bottles of the Pinot Noir and I have no doubt that demand for these wines will increase as they are tantalisingly good. The comparisons with their old-world cousins across the channel are striking and yet being of Kent they are innovative at the same time. 

The summer drought of 2018 transformed the outlook for English wines, especially still wines and is a harbinger of the increasing frequency of hot weather that scientists predict. It will be interesting to see how Britain’s climate evolves over the next few decades and what wines will be most frequently produced here if climate change is ever stabilised.

On the other hand, don’t wait too long before laying your hands on these wines. They are expertly made and priced very well.




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As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.


Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.


The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.


Driving into the Entre-Deux-Mers region from the north, the vineyards roll out like a bright green deep-pile carpet across the undulating land. It’s hard not to be excited about tasting wines with so much heritage, as we head to Chateau-Sainte-Marie to meet with 5th generation owner, Stéphane Dupuch. 


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