I have always been a massive fan of English Sparkling wines, they have always produced high quality Champagne challengers, which have put us on the map as a country that can produce wine.
Being totally honest for me the still wines weren't quite living up to the hype, we all want to push local wine but I remember about 6 years ago going to a tasting and trying a range of English wines that weren’t overly exciting or shouted quality, especially for the money. Having a chat with the winemaker gave me shivers about what they had added to the wine to get it drinkable.
Without a doubt every year the quality of still wine has improved and with awards going to Norfolk wineries for their still wines, the publicity of English wine is only going to increase but i wasn't overly convinced until … I came across Flint winery that seemed to have a great story about their journey on a winemaking venture and ending up in Norfolk producing wine. So i got in touch and went for a visit!
Ben and Hannah are a husband and wife team (with two young children) running the Flint Vineyard operation along with Adrian Hipwell whose grounds the winery is situated. They have transformed derelict buildings in to tastefully done wine tasting rooms. A new winery for the stainless steel tanks, oak barrels and winery gadgets. The whole branding has been done brilliantly with the labels simply but effective , traditional and scientific winemaking coming together is their philosophy.
After chatting with Ben and Hannah they invited me to taste some tank samples, with the 2016 sold out I was lucky enough to try these tank samples of the 2017 crop. I was blown away by the sheer quality that the wines had to offer, obviously these aren't yet the finished article. I tried two variations of fermentation of the Baccus grape and they were so fruit forward, balanced with acidity and definitely the best Norfolk wine I've had. With their connections in Beaujolais from where Ben was winemaking they have secured some oak barrels to age the Pinot Noir in. At the time of trying the wine, the Pinot had been in barrel for 1 month, so about 7/8 more months to go. It is obvious of the style and design Ben and Hannah are after the with wines because again it was bursting of fruit.
The whole set up of the winery was incredible with Bens laboratory emphasising the importance of traditional and science working together. They are a great couple creating a brilliant brand with great wine behind it. Im hoping to get hold of some of their new vintage and hopefully some of the top secret new cuvées but none the less I wish them well and success with this venture, they are definitely ones to look out for!