It’s no secret that English Wines are growing in popularity, with the south of the country now said to be experiencing climates previously found in the likes of the Champagne region and being ideal for a number of popular grapes.
Unfortunately those climates aren’t generally experienced up north. That however did not stop those at Laurel Farm from following their heart and planting vines in the cooler climates of Yorkshire.
Found in the small hamlet of Aike in East Yorkshire, Laurel Vines was launched after surveys showed that the well structured soil of the wolds, was perfect for growing grapes.
Careful consideration had to be given to the planting of the vines in order to maximise sunlight as well as wind susceptibility and frost pockets, despite the care that was taken during this stage, nothing is guaranteed and it was only last week that all new growth on their vines was damaged by frost. If a second growth doesn’t emerge, then this years harvest may be ruined completely.
It was back in 2013 that the first production was complete and since then the wines have gone from strength to strength, competing against the best of British and winning several awards.
I was sent two of their wines to try out for myself and I have to say I was praying they were good, but very wary of how the climates of the north might treat the vines and therefore the finished product.
So on a sunny lockdown Wednesday afternoon I decided to delve in to the Madeleine Angevine.
Madeleine Angevine is a white grape variety, originally from the Loire Valley in France and very much suited to cooler climates.
The resulting wine is pale lemon in colour with a beautiful green apple on the nose which is accompanied by some lemon.
Soft on the palette, it is very easy drinking. Clean and crisp apple notes give way to a long and substantial finish which oozes peach. I was blown away by my very first mouthful.
The wine is great for sipping on a summers day, but it also stood up really well to the Chicken and Potato dish that we enjoyed later in the evening.
Really taken aback and wowed by this first wine, I was excited to see what the second variety brought to the table.
Bottle two was another single variety named Ortega.
The Ortega grape originates from the Bavarian region and again is suitable for cooler climates, producing a grape with higher sugar content and therefor slightly sweeter wines.
On pouring the first thing you notice is the low intensity of colour, with just a hint of lemon.
On the nose its zingy with lemon and lime while on the palette the lime is accompanied by ripe peach.
Surprisingly its not as sweet as expected and more of an Medium – Dry with a clean flavour and very little acidity, but with a good amount of body.
At 11.3% Vol it’s easy drinking and is perfect for a sunny afternoon.
When I first took an interest in wine I was travelling around New Zealand around 20 years ago. Never back then would I dream of sitting in my garden at home sipping English wines, let alone one from Yorkshire, but how much things have changed.
As English winemakers experiment and develop more and more, the results just continue to amaze, with these two being shining examples.
I would urge anyone to give them a try, especially during these times, when buying wine directly from producers is more important than ever.
Check them out for yourselves here.
The wines featured were sent by Laurel Wines as a complimentary sample to review and feedback. The article and all opinions are the honest and impartial thoughts of Manchester Food Tourist.