Having spent many a summer holiday in my youth down in Lyme Regis and only fleetingly being aware of Lyme Bay Winery predominantly as producers of fruit wines and ciders, imagine my surprise and delight at the recent Wines of Great Britain Trade and Press Tasting to discover this winery offers so much more…
A range of sparkling wines: from the finely nuanced Pinot Noir dominant Classic Cuveé 2013 – which was fresh and citrussy with lovely honeyed brioche and yeasty notes from time on its lees, to the lovely red fruit driven yet still delicate Blanc de Noirs 2014 and the Rosé NV also 100% Pinot Noir which was a beautiful vibrant salmon colour chock full of summer fruits and with a noticeable touch of residual sugar making it very quaffable indeed!
The whites were equally interesting:
The Chardonnay 2016 was weighty with noticeable creamy oak influence with lots of peach and apple fruit and a touch of honey.
My favourite white was the Sandbar 2015 – I truly believe that Bacchus could yet be our USP in England (our Marlborough Sauvignon equivalent if you like) and this 100% Bacchus with its complex nose and weighty mouthfeel was lovely- chock full of citrus fruit alongside elderflower and gooseberry notes with a touch of tropical fruit on the finish.
So far so good eh? Well it gets even better….
I now believe I have tasted what is thus far the finest English expression of Pinot Noir to date. Pinot is a finicky grape to grow not least because of our rather unpredictable climate and as a result most English Pinot I have tasted seems thin and slightly astringent with unbalanced tannin and not enough ripe fruit. But worry no more we may now be on to something!
Lyme Bay’s Pinot Noir 2016 was a huge surprise – from the colour which was a beautiful deep ruby through to the aroma and flavour profile, it was classic cool climate Pinot: spicy red fruit driven on the nose which followed through onto the palate – think crunchy red cherry and lots of cranberry and strawberry alongside warming vanilla spice and firm but integrated tannins, all wrapped up with a lovely zingy acidity. It may not be cheap (£21) but I’d happily buy this and toast what hopefully may finally be the coming of age of English Pinot Noir!
For more information on any of these wines visit: www.lymebaywinery.co.uk