JWL Issue #086: 3 Wines from Astley Vineyard in Worcestershire

February 25, 2020

Work for the next version of The Wine List is underway. As part of the product evolution, you can expect: a monthly wine course with big topics each month covering production, styles, and environment.

By the end of the first year, you should be able to look at a wine list and have a rough indication of what everything should taste like.

In addition, many of you have also asked for different features which come under a community umbrella. Predominantly, our monthly events will finally launch (free to customers, paid for for non-customers), along with the introduction of a digital community too.

From next week, my full time with be dedicated to The Wine List. If you are a newsletter subscriber but haven’t yet signed up, hit reply and let me know why.

This week’s newsletter is a bit different with the focus on one English vineyard I’ve had the pleasure of tasting a few bottles from recently.


Wines from Astley Vineyard

Worcestershire’s Astley Vineyard once had the claim to be England’s most northerly vineyard: a title since taken by vineyards in Yorkshire. Created in 1971, the Haywood family took it over in the last few years and have been modernising while still owing a lot to the site’s heritage. It should be noted they’ve got some beautiful label design that really stands out.

I recently tasted six of their wines and was really impressed by the variety of these stills.

Branwen 2018 (£14) is the first wine to be grown and produced on site (the previous owners used a contract winery). This rosé has 10g of residual sugar, and the nose has flowers, stone fruits and strawberries singing harmoniously.

Kerner 2018 (£16) is full of zippy apples, some greener citrus, and a steely minerality. There’s something a bit austere in a Chablis esque kind of way.

At £9, the Madeleine Angevine 2017 is great good value. Here’s the rosewater, a hint of peaches, and a slight smokiness. The finish here for the price point is confidently long. And finally, keep an eye out for their orange they’ll release later this year.


How north can you grow wine?

I’ve been to Leventhorpe, which is just south-east of Yorkshire before. Leventhorpe has an incredible 2012 madeleine angevine, which the grower once described as ‘our white Burgundy’ – which if I’d made in north Yorkshire, I’d probably say as well. It really was very good.

A little further north is Ryedale, which claims to be England’s most northerly commercial vineyard.

Most wine traditionally is grown between 30° – 50° of latitude, Yorkshire sits at 53.7°. Cool climate wines typically spell: lower alcohol (as less sugar in the grapes), lighter bodies, tarter aromas, and much higher acidity.

But global warming, better site & grape selection, and more expertise both in the vineyard & the winery, mean that cooler climates will begin to show up in places we hadn’t previously imagined.

Plus a two degree increase in global temperature will mean the majority of today’s wine won’t be able to be produced. That means new regions, new grapes, and new wines will be needed to fulfil supply.

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