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5 Suffolk wines you need to try

PUBLISHED: 20:00 24 May 2020

Raise a glass and celebrate all that English wines have to offer Picture: Giffords Hall

Raise a glass and celebrate all that English wines have to offer Picture: Giffords Hall

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English wine is becoming very trendy - and we have some fantastic varieties to buy in the East of England. Here are just a few to look out for.

A bottle of Giffords Hall's 2018 Bacchus Picture: Giffords HallA bottle of Giffords Hall's 2018 Bacchus Picture: Giffords Hall

This year’s English Wine Week was scheduled to take place between Saturday 23 May and Sunday 31 May, but has now been pushed back to next month due to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown.

With the revised dates of Saturday 20 June through to Sunday 28 June having been announced, English Wine Week is designed to raise awareness of the variety of homegrown wines available across the country.

From reds, whites and rosés to sparkling wines, there’s a large selection of wine just waiting to be sipped that’s been grown, fermented and bottled right here in Suffolk.

So pop a cork, pour one out, and help support your local Suffolk vineyards during these tough times.

Giffords Hall Bacchus wine, which is full, fruity and dry. It pairs well with fish, cheese and mildly spicy dishes Picture: Giffords HallGiffords Hall Bacchus wine, which is full, fruity and dry. It pairs well with fish, cheese and mildly spicy dishes Picture: Giffords Hall

Giffords Hall, Bury St Edmunds

Situated just between Bury St Edmunds and Long Melford sits Giffords Hall, a family-owned vineyard planted on the site of an ancient glacial riverbed.

According to its website, the sandy clay soil produces high quality grapes that are high in natural sugars and acids that lend themselves particularly well to both sparkling and dry, aromatic still wines.

Planted 25 years ago, the vineyard and its vines are now in their prime, and while Giffords Hall may be closed to the public for tasting tours due to the current lockdown situation, you can still enjoy its fine wines from the comfort of your own home.

Giffords Hall's Brut Reserve NV, an elegant Pinot Noir-based sparkling wine. It pairs especially well with cheeses Picture: Giffords HallsGiffords Hall's Brut Reserve NV, an elegant Pinot Noir-based sparkling wine. It pairs especially well with cheeses Picture: Giffords Halls

Each of Giffords Hall’s vintages are carefully produced in small batch tanks and barrels only, and all of its wines are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.

The first wine Giffords Hall recommend is its Bacchus. This 2019 single estate is packed full of fresh aromas and punchy green fruit, hedgerow and elderflower flavours with a hint of lycee. It is full, fruity and dry. Suggested pairings for this wine are fish, cheese and mildly spicy dishes.

For those looking to start their weekend off with a bang, why not opt for a bottle of Brut Reserve NV? This elegant pinot noir-based sparkling wine is gently refreshing, and pairs well with cheeses. It is equally as delicious as an apertif.

Giffords Hall’s wines are available as either single bottles, mixed half cases or in selection boxes. Click here for further information.

Flint Vineyard's Pinot Noir Precoce Picture: Simon Buck / Flint VineyardFlint Vineyard's Pinot Noir Precoce Picture: Simon Buck / Flint Vineyard

Flint Vineyard, Bungay

Located on the Suffolk-Norfolk border is Flint Vineyard, a winery founded in 2016 by Ben and Hannah Witchell, with the husband and wife duo having recently brought forward the launch of their 2019 pinot noir.

“Lots of people have been looking forward to the launch of our Pinot Noir Précoce 2019 since the 2018 vintage sold out last Christmas,” Hannah said. “We’ve been taking pre-orders which were all shipped out on Wednesday, and the official launch day was Friday 22 May for what would have been English Wine Week.”

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Full of cherry fruit, with an underlying spice and earthiness, it is soft and smooth on the palate. Flint Vineyard says it has slightly more body than the 2018 and a very long, complex finish. Click here to find out more.

Dedham Vale Vineyard, Dedham Vale

Straddling the Suffolk-Essex border and nestled next to Dedham Vale lies the beautiful family-owned and run Dedham Vale Vineyard.

Set over 40 acres of glorious English countryside, accompanied by woods, lakes, meadows and picturesque buildings, these vines produce an array of wines that customers can still purchase from its website.

Dedham Vale Vineyard is set over 40 acres of vines, woods and pastures Picture: Dedham Vale VineyardDedham Vale Vineyard is set over 40 acres of vines, woods and pastures Picture: Dedham Vale Vineyard

“For a relatively small vineyard, we do offer quite a variety of wines,” explained managing director Hugo Wilson.

“Each year we make two white wines, a red, a rosé and an English sparkling white. In addition, on certain years if the crop allows, we also produce a sparkling rosé.”

Hugo recommends Dedham Vale’s English Sparkling Brut. Created from Orion and Chardonnay grapes, it is made using the méthode champenoise, whereby the last stage of fermentation takes place in the bottle.

“It has spent time on its lees in the cellar and has a refreshing lively mousse - the French term for the head of bubbles that rise to the top of a sparkling wine. It has good depth on the palate, with attractive fresh fruit flavours and yeasty overtones. Delightful at all times, it is the perfect celebratory drink and a lovely accompaniment to fish, shellfish or canapés,” he said.

Shotley Vineyard's 2019 Bacchus Picture: Shotley VineyardShotley Vineyard's 2019 Bacchus Picture: Shotley Vineyard

To find out more about Dedham Vale Vineyard, click here to visit the website.

Shotley Vineyard, Shotley

Shotley Vineyard, located between the rivers Stour and Orwell, is owned by husband and wife team Craig and Charlotte Davitt-Mills.

The two took on the vineyard at the end of 2017, and throughout October 2019, harvested 22,000 tonnes of grapes. These have gone into producing the vineyard’s single estate Bacchus and Pinot Noir wines.

Wyken Vineyards' award-winning Moonshine sparkling wine Picture: Wyken VineyardsWyken Vineyards' award-winning Moonshine sparkling wine Picture: Wyken Vineyards

Shotley Vineyard’s single estate Bacchus is floral, with notes of elderflower on the nose. It is crisp on the palate with hints of gooseberry and lime, and pairs beautifully with chicken or seafood. Head to the website for further information.

Wyken Vineyard, Bury St Edmunds

Wyken is a 1,200 acre farm which includes a flock of Shetland sheep, and is also home to a seven-acre vineyard producing a selection award-winning wines.

Run by Carla Carlisle, her son Sam has set up an online shop for the vineyard due to the Coronavirus lockdown, allowing Wyken to still sell its homegrown wines. “We usually sell on site, but because of the enforced closure we have had a little spare, and love the thought of our loyal customers enjoying it at home,” he said.

Wines available from the vineyard’s online shop include Wyken Moonshine, a sparkling wine produced from the farm’s Auxerrois grapes and its more recently planted pinot noir. It was awarded the accolade of East Anglian Wine of the Year in 2017. Click here to find out more.


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