One last patriotic cheer for English Wine Week (which ends on Sunday 10 June) and then ‘normal’ service will be resumed as I review wines from further afield.
In my last piece, I reviewed an English wine on sale for just over £7. That’s a real rarity as the price of wines from Blighty are usually £10 and above. I’m often asked why this is; because it’s not as if they’ve had to travel that far. Putting aside our taxes and duty regime, the reason is largely down to the small production volumes meaning higher costs per bottle. For instance, there were only 3,300 bottles produced of Element 20 (2010 vintage) by Litmus Wines.
This blend of Bacchus and Chardonnay gets its name from calcium, the 20th element on the periodic table, and one which plays a key role in the vineyard soils from where the wine’s grapes hail. Those vineyards are on the North Downs near Dorking, south west of London.
Element 20 has already had some positive reviews in the press. Richard Hemming of Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages said:
”Element 20 takes still English wine to a whole new level.”
So, there’s a risk that I may be accused of jumping on some sort of jingoistic bandwagon – but I’ll take it!
The Mothership, The Analyst and I shared a bottle of Element 20 to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It got the thumbs up from us all.
The wine has intriguing citrus and grassy aromas – maybe like a freshly cut English lawn? There are also some hints of toasty oak. The Mothership said it reminded her of liquorice root which they had when she was a small girl. On the palate the wine has great fresh, zingy acidity. The flavours are complex. They start off with minerally lemon, go through smoky vanilla and end with herby grapefruit. The wine also has exceedingly long length. If you’re interested the alcohol level is 11%.
Unfortunately, with only just over 3,000 produced, it could be quite tricky to track down a bottle – but it’s worth having a go. I got my bottle of Element 20 from my place of part-time work, The Good Wine Shop. It’s also available at Harvey Nichols, Noel Young Wines and The Sampler. It costs around £20 – so it’s probably rather a special occasion drink.
W.O.W. Factor 8.5 (Although, I suspect this includes an extra patriotic 0.5)