Dry rosé wine. Orange-coloured, Provence-esque Somerset rosé with a nose of zippy citrus and a palate of refreshing strawberry and pink grapefruit. All elegantly balanced, you can see why this won Gold at the UKVA Wine Awards. 75cl
Pinot Noir, Regent & Solaris blend from Somerset, England. 11.5% ABV. Suitable for Vegans.
This absolutely stunning vineyard is set in the Mendip hills in Somerset, just outside of Bristol and Bath. Aldwick Court Farm has been family-run for five generations and is today headed up by managing director Sandy Luck. Sandy says Aldwick is "to balance respect for tradition with the drive for innovation".
Now Somerset's largest vineyard, Sandy's team includes viticulturist Elizabeth Lever who is one of the trade's top vineyard managers. Lever overlooks 11 acres of vines, including noble Champagne varieties like Pinot Noir. Steve Brooksbank, a local winemaker, uses Lever's grapes to make Aldwick's range of premium still and sparkling English wines.
Despite being a relatively new vineyard, Aldwick Court Farm has produced award-winning wines every year since their 2013 vintage. Their mission is to secure the highest quality possible in every bottle.
The transformation of farm to diversify into viticulture was completed under the guidance of the late Chris Watts. He planted around two acres of Seyval Blanc, Early Pinot Noir and Bacchus in 2008.
Later, Chris extended this into the nearby Woodlands, a south-westerly facing hillside overlooking Aldwick Lane. New varieties included Regent and Solaris, two hybrids, and plantings of later-ripening Pinot Noir and more Seyval Blanc and Bacchus. After Chris' extension there were nearly 9,000 vines planted over 9 acres at Aldwick.
In 2011, the original Bacchus vines in the first two acre plot were torn out and replaced with the earlier ripening Madeleine Angevine.
Everything at Aldwick, from Winter pruning through Spring and Summer, to Autumn's harvest is done by hand under the careful eye of Elizabeth Lever.
In October 1957, Mary Joyce Hathway came to Aldwick Court Farm as the beautiful bride of Dennis Watts. Farmer’s wife and mother of three, she developed a popular Bed & Breakfast business and the tradition of genial hospitality that endures. Through joint endeavour, Dennis and Mary not only purchased the farm where his family had been tenants, but also extended its holdings. In 2007 Mary entrusted the farm to her only son, the late Chris Watts, who conceived the plan for a vineyard. Her much-beloved gardens, subsequently neglected but now under restoration, often give rise to the observation: ‘If there was one spare foot of soil, Mary planted a rose’.
Pinot Noir has a long history of producing some of the finest and most expensive wines in the world (think Champagne and Red Burgundy). It's also a notoriously difficult grape variety to grow, requiring a lot more attention than varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon in the vineyard. The style in red wines can vary from a light to medium bodied still wine, while in sparkling wine it adds character, wild berry fruit and structure to grapes like Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc and Pinot Meunier. Pinot Noir also has a great affinity for oak maturation.
Regent is a dark skinned hybrid variety resistant to most fungal diseases, especially downy mildew, making it a popular red grape for English vineyard plantings. It was created in 1967 by Gerhardt Alleweldt by crossing Diana (Silvaner x Muller-Thurgau) with Chambourcin. It is most widely planted in Germany and Belgium.
Solaris is a white grape originating from Germany, created in 1975 by Norbert Becker who crossed the variety Merzling with a Zarya Severa x Muscat Ottonel crossing creatively called 'Gm 6493'. Solaris received varietal protection in 2001 and is an EU-approved grape variety for quality wine production. It was bred to be resistant to fungal attacks and is popular in Germany, England, Denmark and Sweden. Solaris produces nutty, banana-like sweet wines or dry, fruity styles of white wine.
Superb pairing with Spanish seafood paella.
Other serving suggestions include:
Discovered a match we need to know about? Let us know here ►
Somerset, as a wine region, is really exciting. Thanks to the naturally formed hilly landscape and clay soils it can be a gold mine for producing ripe, tasty still wines. Exceptional rosés from wineries like Dunleavy and Aldwick Court Farm regularly win the most coveted awards, while dry white wines made from Bacchus and Madeleine Angevine can be some of the most richly flavoured whites in all of England.
The biggest threat to vines in Somerset is strong westerly winds and damp growing conditions. Many viticulturists tackle this issue with natural wind barriers, for example planting tree lines to protect from winds, and take extra care of observing their vineyard after poor weather. However, the Bristol Channel can also have positive effects on the vines, maintaining the range of temperatures between day and night, allowing the grapes to ripen consistently throughout the season.
It also happens to be one of the most beautiful areas of the UK to explore on foot or bicycle, surrounded by the areas of outstanding natural beauty: the Mendips, Cotswolds, Quantock Hills and Cranborne Chase.