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Surrey vineyards share their top drops and secret cellars for English Wine Week 2017

PUBLISHED: 17:20 25 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:26 25 May 2017

Surrey vineyards share their top drops and secret cellars

Surrey vineyards share their top drops and secret cellars


To celebrate English Wine Week, from Saturday May 27 to Sunday June 4, Matthew Williams catches-up with three of Surrey’s award-winning vineyards

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2017



Shere Road, Albury, Surrey GU5 9BW. Web: alburyvineyard.com

Person interviewed: Lucy Letley, marketing

Tell us about your flagship wine…

Our Silent Pool Rosé is an elegantly pale Provence-style rosé made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. It’s dry but with plenty of summer fruit flavours. We sell it for £16.95 at the vineyard, although it sells out very quickly.

Does it have a tale to tell?

The first vintage was released in 2012 and served on the Royal Barge to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee! Since then it’s won several prestigious awards and features on the wine lists of some of the country’s best restaurants, including Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

Your future ‘top drop’?

Our original aim was to produce sparkling wine, although it takes a long time and we didn’t release our first until the end of 2015. Our Albury Estate Classic Cuvée is now giving our rosé a run for its money. It’s achieved success in several of the international wine competitions and is served in Michelin-starred restaurants, including Tom Kerridge’s Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Chez Bruce in Wandsworth, and the Black Swan near York.

What’s the oldest bottle of your wine that you know to still exist?

We are a relatively young vineyard, as we first planted in 2009, so the oldest bottle we have is our 2011 Silent Pool Rosé - a souvenir from the Royal Barge! Being a rosé, it probably won’t keep well for long but we will keep it forever as memory of our first ever harvest.

Secret cellar: We have a couple of special releases in the pipeline, including a biodynamic sparkling that’s fermented using only wild yeasts found naturally in the vineyard. We are one of only a handful of biodynamic vineyards in the UK, so a quality natural wine is hard to find. We also have a small amount of a ‘prestige cru’ sparkling that we’ve been keeping for a little while now. It will probably only be available to Albury Wine Club members.


London Road, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6AA. Web: denbies.co.uk

Person interviewed: Jeannette Simpson, chief operating officer

Tell us about your flagship wine…

Greenfields 2011 is the current vintage of Denbies’ original traditional method sparkling wine and was awarded a gold in the International Wine Challenge. It is made from the classic ‘Champagne’ trio of grapes.

Does it have a tale to tell?

Greenfields is one of the first English sparkling wines, with production starting approximately 20 years ago. When Denbies first planted these grape varietals, in 1986, it was questioned whether Pinot Noir could be successfully grown in the UK’s cool climate. Pinot Noir has also become very successful in production of Denbies’ rosé, red and premium cuvee, Cubitt Blanc de Noir.

Your future ‘top drop’?

When a particular parcel of one of our varietals is of exceptional quality, the winemaker will take the opportunity to release a limited release vintage. In 2013, the winemaker made a Cubitt Blanc de Blanc, 100% Chardonnnay. This wine is due for release at the end of 2017 and is limited to 3,500 only.

What’s the oldest bottle of your wine that you know to still exist?

English still wine is intended to be consumed young, to retain the aromatic fresh flavours (approximately three to four years). However, a customer called to inform us that he had enjoyed an excellent bottle of Juniper Hill – vintage 2002. English sparkling will mature in the same way as all traditional method bottled fermented wine with an expected age of four to 15 years, plus.

Secret cellar: In 2014, a peculiar phenomenon occurred and four tons of Ortega was selectively picked during optimum conditions for ‘noble rot’. Until that time, Denbies had only produced three vintages of noble harvest in its 28 year history. Since then, our Noble Harvest has become a multiple internationally award-winning dessert wine annually. A premium Noble Rot from the first picking of 2016 will be released soon and limited to 500 bottles.


The Hog’s Back, Puttenham, Surrey GU3 1AG. Web: greyfriarsvineyard.co.uk

Person interviewed: Mike Wagstaff, owner

Tell us about your flagship wine…

Our vintage Sparkling Rosé Reserve (currently 2013) is made from predominantly Pinot Noir grapes, which are crushed, and soaked on their skins to extract the delicate pale pink colour and the wonderful aromas of summer berries. One third of the base wine is fermented in old oak barrels, which gives the wine a delicious roundness and hint of vanilla. This was the first wine we released after taking over Greyfriars in 2010. Our first vintage was only 450 bottles! It has got better and better each year and sells for £24-£26 in retail stockists in the area – and a bit less if you come directly to us.

Does it have a tale to tell?

The exact blend has changed over the six vintages but it is always made from our very best red grapes. For the last four years, the grapes for this wine have been picked by our friends and family, on the first day of harvest.

Your future ‘top drop’?

All of them! Seriously, it’s like asking who your favourite child is!

What’s the oldest bottle of your wine that you know to still exist?

As we only took over the vineyard in 2010, it’s our current 2013 vintage Sparkling Rosé Reserve. Now we have our own 400,000-bottle capacity chalk cave, we look forward to expanding on that story in the future.

Secret cellar: We’re producing limited editions of special blends but they won’t be ready for another year or two. However, we always have one or two wines, which are only available at the vineyard.

English Wine Week takes place from Saturday May 27 to Sunday June 4.



Saturday May 27, 10am to 5pm


The vineyard’s first open day of 2017, they will have a selection of Greyfriars’ award-winning old and new wines for you to sample, as well as the opportunity to meet the wine makers. Free.

Saturday May 27 and Saturday June 3, from 11am

ALBURY: Tour and Tasting

Enjoy a tour of this beautiful vineyard overlooking the Surrey Hills, followed by a tasting of Albury’s latest releases.

Tickets: £15 per person

Saturday May 27 to Sunday June 4

HAWKINS BROS at Secretts, Milford, Surrey GU8 5HU

This year for English Wine Week, Hawkins Bros will host a different English winemaker every day. Expect Fox & Fox, Cottonworth, Hindleap, Upperton, Albury Organic Vineyard, Hush Heath, Jenkyn Place, Greyfriars Vineyard and Litmus Wines.

Web: hawkinsbros.co.uk

Saturday May 27 to Sunday June 4

GODSTONE: Walk & Wine

Combine the stunning Woldingham Countryside Walk with a visit to Godstone Vineyards for English Wine Week.

Flower Farm, Flower Lane, Godstone, Surrey RH9 8DE. Web: www.godstonevineyards.com

Saturday May 27 to Saturday June 3

CELLAR MAGNEVAL at 3 Church Path, Woking, Surrey GU21 6EJ

Enjoy A taste of England with Cellar Magneval’s special cheese and wine tasting flight, showcasing wines from Chapel Down and Stopham Estate vineyards.

Web: www.cellarmagneval.com

Saturday May 27, 6.30pm and 7.30pm

DENBIES: Tour and Dinner

A tour with sparkling wine and canapés at one of the most spectacular viewpoints of the vineyard followed by a three-course meal in the Gallery restaurant.

Tickets: £55 per person

Sunday May 28 to Monday June 5, 11am to 4pm

HIGH CLANDON: Art & Sculptures in the Vineyard

Find more than 100 works of art in High Clandon’s spectacular gardens and Glass Barn tasting room, as they launch their first rosé cuvée, the Aurora Cuvée 2011.

Tickets: £5 per person donation to the Cherry Trees charity

Sunday May 28, 3pm

ALBURY: Sparkling Afternoon Tea

The Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2016 tea/coffee shop of the year, Shere’s Dabbling Duck, are moving to Albury Vineyard for the day to host an afternoon tea.

Tickets: £30 per person

Wednesday May 31, 7.30pm to 9.30pm

CORKAGE at 60 Quarry Street, Guildford, Surrey GU1 3UA

Enjoy an English Sparkling Wine tasting featuring Blackdown Ridge, Nutbourne, Pewley Down, Court Garden and Albury, plus a guest speaker. Tickets: £30 per person.

Web: www.corkage.co.uk

Thursday June 1 to Saturday June 3, 11am

DENBIES: Wine and Cheese Walks

A guided walking tour through the vines followed by a tasting of four wines with local cheese in the heart of the vineyard.

Tickets: £19.95 per person

Saturday June 3, 12noon to 6pm

CELLAR WINES at The Old Cellar, High Street, Ripley, Surrey GU23 6BB

Celebrate English Wine Week with free sparkling tasting, including wines from Surrey producers Albury, High Clandon and Greyfriars, plus a blind tasting against one of their best Champagnes.

Web: cellarwines.co.uk

Saturday June 3, 7.30pm

DENBIES: Summer Celebration

Sparkling wine reception, three-course meal accompanied by Denbies wine with musical entertainment throughout and dancing until midnight.

Tickets: £45 per person


Share your English Wine Week 2017 events with us by tweeting @SurreyLife


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