Peter Dean has written a comprehensive piece for The Buyer about his visit to Simpsons' Wine Estate on the first day of the 2019 harvest.
He explored the Simpsons' verve for English still wine production, alongside the original focus of creating noteworthy English sparkling wines.
Read his fantastic tasting notes of the current Simpsons' wine collection:
Flint Fields, Blanc de Noirs, 2016
A new cuvée this wine is pale wheat-coloured; attractive aromas, pure, elegant, slightly reticent nose; the palate is beautifully balanced (5.3 gms r/s) with a lively but fine-beaded mousse, nice bite of acidity in the attack, and then the mid-palate fleshes out with red, orchard and citrus fruit and a touch of sea spray; attractive fine texture, mineral notes, long finish. I can see this ageing well. Elegant and classy this has spent 26 months on the lees, disgorged in June, released Nov 1.
Chalklands Classic Cuvée 2016
Traditional method classic cuvée which is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Very pale yellow in colour; Pinot is immediately obvious on the nose, there is an attractive bouquet of citrus peel, apple, a touch of fresh bread which disappears soon after opening; the palate is clean, pure and long with a firm bite of linear-acidity, flavours of redcurrant, Granny Smith, lemon flesh. Dosage is 9gms/l, acidity 5.5 although the overall tingle makes it feel higher. On lees for 20 months.
Railway Hill Rosé 2018
Although the attractive bottle, Vinlock closure and colour suggests Provence, this is a Rosé from Pinot Noir clone 292 that is very different in flavour profile. Gorgeous nose – yellow grapefruit, lime peel, slight nuttiness – leads into a citrus melange, mineral, powerful acidity and flavours of lime zest and crisp Granny Smith apples. Grainy texture and a massive finish that goes on for ages.
Gravel Castle Chardonnay 2018
Although it is described as being made in an unoaked style, the combination of one new oaked barrel (1% of the blend) and the full malo-lactic fermentation gives it a lot of gunflint and makes it very ‘oaky’ on the nose. There is also notes of orchard fruit, citrus, but it is the palate that works so well and makes this one of the stand-out, great value for money wines in the portfolio. Creamy, slightly tropical but with the trademark lively acidity that makes this great for food-pairing.
Derringstone Pinot Meunier 2018
Claiming to be the first still Pinot Meunier in the UK, this is a curio that really is worth checking out – vinified as it is as a still white wine. On the nose there is a distinct sake-like chalkiness which will make it a natural for sushi/sashimi/poke food-pairing. The palate is Kentish red fruit with cream – balanced nicely by the acidity. The fruit is ripe and complex. A real sommelier wine this one.
Roman Road Chardonnay 2018
The estate’s top, single site Chardonnay, is what they are aiming to be their ‘Montrachet’ wine – ie. Burgundian clones, skilful use of 2nd fill oak (60% of the fruit), nice weight in the mouth, refined feel. There are notes of honeysuckle and peach on the nose, the palate has Cox’s apple, slightly nutty, long textured finish, with a little twist of acidity at the tail. Very nice, although I suspect there will be considerable vintage variation.
Rabbit Hole Pinot Noir 2018
Not sure I have had a better English Pinot Noir. The nose is clearly Pinot – primary red fruits, five spice, bit of farm; the mouthfeel is young, but ripe, fresh black fruits, slightly spicy, with a nice chalky texture undercut by bright acidity. It has a natural elegance and Bourgogne Rouge vivacity. Will get better with a bit of cellaring and I can imagine as the vines get older and the fruit a little more concentrated this will be a cuvée to keep an eye on.
For the full article, click here.