Brook Hill Vineyard in Bramshaw and The Wharie Experience in Lymington win WineGB Wessex gold awards
TWO New Forest vineyards have picked up gold at the WineGB Wessex awards during a special awards ceremony hosted by sponsors The PIG in Brockenhurst.
Ian and Amanda Brown, of Brook Hill Vineyard in Bramshaw, took the accolade for their Forest red, while The Wharie Experience in Lymington came top in best still category.
A blend of pinot noir and dornfelder, Forest Red ‘22 is fruity and full-bodied, aged for eight months in oak barrels and finished in stainless steel.
Ian said: “It is not unusual to produce an English red wine, but it is perhaps unusual to make a drinkable one. We are really pleased with this, though, and have had great feedback.”
The gold for best sparkling went to Langham Wine Estate in Crawthorne, just outside Dorchester for its Corallian Classic NV, with Candover Brook Vineyard taking best sparkling rosé and Domaine Hugo in Downton scooping the best sparkling in the vineyards of 2ha or less category.
A sumptuous celebration lunch of whole south coast plaice, shallot, caper, parsley and burnt butter sauce was whipped up by Pig chefs and served to award guests, followed by a dessert of apple and sultana crumble and custard.
This was the 39th year of the awards, and there entries from more than 50 wineries from across Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight.
Once again, WineGB joined forces with The PIG Hotels, which have continued their support as award sponsors.
The PIG’s head sommelier, Luke Harbor said: “The judging gets harder every year – the quality we saw across the entries this year was exceptional.
“It is a real pleasure to see the ambition on show from the region’s producers, who continue to surprise us with the range of styles and consistency of quality; congratulations to all the winners!”
WineGB Wessex chair and founder of Black Chalk Wine, Jacob Leadley, commented: “Wessex is one of the most exciting and diverse of the UK’s wine regions; the wines entered into this years competition showcase this diversity and the region’s potential for top quality English wine.
“We were again delighted to partner with The PIG Hotels, who are one of the leading endorsers of local food and drink producers.”
Reginal wine body WineGB Wessex currently has more than 70 members. The region is the most diverse in terms of vineyard size, with production ranging from hundreds of bottles to half a million bottles.
The organisation supports its members on all aspects of the industry, including viticulture, winemaking, funding, education, tourism and marketing, and represents its members at the national level within WineGB.
The PIG Hotels are now producing their own English fizz made with grapes from Bee Tree Vineyard in East Sussex, owned by Dermot and Ana Sugrue.
These are PIG Reserve, a 2019 sparkling cuvée, a union of 78% Pinot Noir and 22% Chardonnay; and Lobster Shed Pink, a 2018 sparkling rosé – a blend of 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier that has notes of wild strawberry, garden herbs and short crust pastry.
Robin Hutson, chairman and CEO of The PIGs, said the group is a long-term supporter of English sparkling wines.
“Our team has been talking about creating our own label for some time,” he said. “After considerable time spent searching, we are very excited to have now found delicious, mature South Downs stock that will last us for the next couple of years.
“Starting with Bee Tree Vineyard in East Sussex and then moving over to Northbrook Springs in Bishops Waltham, Hampshire, next year; both of these vineyards have the quality of fruit and provenance we were looking for.”