Saturday, 25 April 2009
Sharpham Vineyard Visit
The River Dart is a tidal river that meanders from the moors down to the sea. Above a section of the river, 2 miles of south of Totnes, Sharpham's vineyards are nestled in a sunny spot on red shillet soil that slopes down to the river's edge.
I took the blue route on the "Trek & Taste" tour through the Madeleine Angevine vines, skirting the edge of the Dornfelder, Pinot Noir and Phoenix vines.
The path then takes you along the river and back up through the picnic area to the Winery and Vineyard shop.
Here I was greeted by Laura Armstrong & Lawrence Baulch in the tasting room. I paid the £4.95 charge for tasting, knowing that I had only hand luggage on the flight home with no space for extra items such as bottles of wine. This gave me the opportunity to try all of their wines.
It was the first time I have tried the Madeleine Angevine and I was pleasantly surprised. It's a clear pale yellow to look at and clean on the nose. It's dry, acidic and youthful. Easy drinking with white fruits and surprisingly good length. I think this would appeal to many people and would go well with local seafood especially crab.
Sharpham also offer a barrel fermented (new oak) Madeleine Angevine that is a more complex wine that would go well with stronger flavoured food such as Thai.
The Dornfelder & Rondo blend creates a deep garnet in colour, good tannin and black fruits and only 10.5%abv.
Sharpham has a sister vineyard Beenleigh Manor where Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are grown under plastic. I'm pleasently surprised by the Beeleigh red (70% Cabernet Sauvignon/30% Merlot). The wine is well balanced with smooth tannins, there's plenty of fruit too.
Sharpham have also produced a good sparkling wine in England. Made in the traditional method (from Pinot Noir/Pinot Blanc) it's elegant with citrus flavours on the palate.
After a look at the creamery, where cheese is fully hand-produced from their own Jersey cow's milk and free of GM ingredients I have lunch at the Vineyard Cafe outside in the sunshine.
I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Devon.
You can follow the events at Sharpham by becoming a fan of Laura's page on facebook called:
Sharpham Wine & Cheese
You can read more about Sharpham at http://www.sharpham.com/