Heading South West ? Visit a vineyard in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall
Langham Wine Estate (Dorset)
Telephone: +44(0)1258 839095
Producer profile from the 11th edition – updated
In the heart of Dorset, a jewel of Hardy Country, the Langham Estate sits next to the magnificent Bingham’s Melcombe manor house, Grade 1 listed, and little changed since the reign of Edward VI. The Langham vineyard was originally established by John Langham.In 2009, John’s son Justin Langham decided to develop the little vineyard into a commercial venture and planted 30 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier at their Crawthorne Farm. With its south-facing aspect, chalk soils, the vineyard provides a fine terroir for ripening these classic Champagne varieties. Established hedgerows provide natural wind breaks and a natural habitat for benign animal life and microbiological diversity. In the fields, the team work tirelessly towards reducing and eventually, it’s hoped, the elimination of chemical interventions; careful canopy of the vines is deployed to optimise air flow against diseases. All grapes are hand-picked and rigorously selected before arrival at the winery. Housed in an old barn, the winery is an ideal fusion of old and new; it’s also within yards of the vineyard for crucial quick pressing of the grapes and initial fermentation. With temperature controlled stainless- steel vats and used French barriques, everything is in place to make potentially exceptional wines. The Classic Cuvée 2014 is Langham’s Tradition Brut led by Chardonnay, with Pinot Noir and Meunier. Some judicious barrel fermentation adds richness and expressive depth. Aged for 24 months on lees, then six months on cork before release. The Blanc de Blancs is an exceptional wine, especially in 2014. 100% estate-grown Chardonnay. Great aromas – honey, brioche, opulence- confirmed on the palate balanced by fresh acidity. The vintage Rosé is driven by woodland red fruits of wild cherry and strawberry; a hint of cream. 10 % Chardonnay adds verve and freshness. The Classic Cuvée Reserve 2011 is a well-aged wine at its peak with longer lees ageing of 36 months. The team love to show and share their wines. Tours and tastings are available throughout the year. There’s also vineyard café, where you can try the wines with fresh wholesome food. Visitors can join two hour guided tours followed by lunch in the 19th century milking parlour. During the autumn harvest, the keen can join the picking of grapes and loading the press.(ME)
Guided Tour and tasting: £20
Self guided tour and tasting: £10
Private Tours: contact the Vineyard for information
Langham’s Cellar door is open all year round.
The Vineyard Cafe full of character and charm is housed in an old milking parlour dating from the 19th century.
The Cafe is currently open from Wednesday to Sunday 10.00am – 4.30pm. It is hoped these opening times can increase as we head into summer.
Taste Langhams award winning wines, enjoy a bite to eat or afternoon cream tea with views of the vineyard and winery. tea.
Fizz Friday and Sparkling Saturdays! Check their website for more details.
There is an online shop so that even if you are not heading to Dorset you can try the wines and there is free delivery in UK for six or more bottles.
Bride Valley Vineyard (Dorset)
Telephone: +44 1308 482767
Producer profile from the 11th edition
Internationally renowned for his exceptional palate, wine critic Steven Spurrier joined the English Sparkling Wine Revolution in the early 2000s, when he persuaded his wife Bella to convert part of her Dorset sheep farm into a vineyard. The south- facing slopes on Kimmeridgian chalk looked like a natural for good sparkling wine. D3So the couple in 2007 consulted Guillaume, the famous Burgundian pepineristes ( vine nursery) to help then select the best rootstock and clones of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Champagne’s great varieties. But Steven, earlier than most English pioneers, also wanted to have some Meunier, knowing that this, the third Champenois grape would bring freshness and early ripening fruit to his cuvées.This was a wise and thoughtful choice because he didn’t want to ape great Champagne but produce a lighter fresher style that played to Dorset’s strengths, particularly the sensations of being in an English apple orchard in spring, stressing the quality of the fruit, less the yeasty autolysis of long lees-ageing. In a word, he wanted an aperitif style. Further research into the composition of the Bride Valley vineyard and advice from visiting friends like Michel Laroche revealed that just 10 to 12 hectares at the right elevation and aspect, allied to the chalky soil were ideal for fine sparkling wine. These 25 acres were planted in 2009, the first serious harvest the 2014, producing a bountiful excellent vintage; Meunier at last after a very slow start bore lots of healthy grapes. Sadly 2016 and 2017 were meagre crops, as they were in Chablis. At the time of writing, after a glorious June 2018 there is a good chance of a great abundant harvest this autumn. The wines are made by Ian Edwards of the respected Furleigh Estate nearby. Of the three cuvées in the à point 2014s, the Blanc de Blancs is an elegant, precisely defined delight; the Brut Réserve a harmonious medley of all three Champagne varieties, ideal for every occasion Best of all, the Rosé Bella has a shimmering translucent rose-petal hue and lovely flavours of little red fruits, refined but with plenty of taste. for a summer night barbecue under the stars. (ME)
Classic Tour and Tasting. Adults £12.50 per person Children £3 inc. soft drink. Duration: approx 1.5 hours. Throughout the summer (subject to a minimum number).
Leaving from the newly opened Tasting Rooms in Litton Cheney at 11am take a fascinating walk around the 10 hectare vineyard and learn about both grape growing and wine making whilst soaking up the stunning views, flora and fauna. Return to the tasting rooms for a guided tasting of three award-winning Bride Valley Vineyard wines.
Exclusive Tour and Tasting. Adults: £25 per person (minimum of 4 people – by prior booking only) Children are welcome (£3 inc. soft drink)
This deluxe tour follows a similar format to the Classic, but with the added benefit of being hosted by Steven and Bella Spurrier themselves, providing ample opportunity to hear stories and anecdotes from Steven’s 50 amazing years in the wine industry and ask any burning questions you may have.
To arrange either of the tours please email or telephone as above.
Bride Valley wine is available to purchase at cellar door prices.
Monday – Friday (10am – 2pm)
Otherwise, check here to see where you can buy the wine.
Telephone: 01803 732203
Producer profile from the 11th edition
The origins of this scenic estate are recorded in the Domesday Book with construction of the splendid Sharpham House beginning in 1770. There are 3.2 ha (8 acres) planted and unusually 90% of this is Madeleine Angevine which works particularly well here. Much care is taken in the south-facing vineyards which benefit from gentle sea breezes drifting up the River Dart and many of the vines have been converted to Scott-Henry trellising to improve fruit ripening. Today the estate is run by winemaker Mark Sharman who makes perhaps England’s best and most striking red wine the Beenleigh Red from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot which has a pronounced Loire leafiness but good depth and structure. The vines for this are cultivated on Mark’s own property and in poly tunnels. This seems to work here because of the steep aspect and airflow through the tunnels. Humidity and excessive canopy growth can be real problems for growers taking this route with international varieties. The Sharpham Red is markedly different, a fresh and berry-scented 100% Rondo, giving it good colour. The Sharpham Estate Selection is 100% Madeleine Angeveine as is the Barrel Fermented white. The former full of fragrant green fruit, the latter gaining weight and dimension from the malolactic as well as oak fermentation and ageing. The Sharpham Rosé offers a little structure with good fresh acidity and will develop for two or three years. A sparkling white and rosé are also now being made and is disgorged at THREE CHOIRS and a Dart Valley Reserve white and a Pinot Noir Précose are also made. (DM)
Six options from a self guided vineyard tour to private tours:
Mini Wine Tasting: £7.00 per head. No booking required.
A relaxed way to select and taste 4 samples of Sharpham wines. You will receive easy to read and informed tasting and production notes and if there’s two of you, order one each and get to taste more of the wines they produce! You can do this at anytime of the day and it’s the ultimate way to taste the most of what Sharpham have to offer in your own time.
Mini Cheese tasting: £3.00 per person. No booking required.
Taste three hand selected samples of Sharpham award winning cheeses with some local chutney and savoury biscuits to accompany.
Guided Tasting: £12.50 per person. Booking essential. Max of 15 people. Duration 1 Hour 30 minutes. An informal, guided tasting of four wines, two cheeses and includes entry to the vineyard which will give you an insight into the wine making processes at Sharpham.
You will receive a map of the vineyard where you can follow the various routes set up through the vines and down to the River Dart. The vineyard walk can take as little as 30 minutes but as long as an hour so allow yourself enough time to get back for the tasting which will last for a further 45 minutes.
Vine to Wine tour: £20.00 per person. Max of 30 people. Booking essential. Duration 2 Hours.
Offers a complete insight from vineyard processes all the way through to winemaking techniques. Knowledgeable guides will lead you through the vineyard and winery, tasting five wines on the way and sample two of the estate award-winning cheeses.
The Vine To Wine runs from April through October on Saturdays and Sundays and starts at 3pm. Due to such popularity, in August Sharpham are running a 3pm slot on Wednesdays.
Private Tour: £25.00 per person. Minimum of 10, Maximum of 60. Duration 2 hours.
A private guided tour of the Vineyard with a tasting amongst the vines. Perfect for work outings, a family get together, wine club meetings or even a hen or stag do. The tour starts with a full glass of our classic English sparkling wine and then is followed by a selection of our still wines in the vineyard. Upon returning to the cellar door you will also sample some of our award winning cheeses. Please allow for up to 2 hours for this tour.
Self guided tour: £2.50 per person. No booking required.
Self-guided walk through the vines and alongside the beautiful River Dart returning to the winery. Short walk (25 mins). Longer walk (40 mins) approx. You will receive a map of the vineyard where you can follow the various routes we have set up through the vines and down to the River Dart. Please wear appropriate footwear for this walk.
The Alfresco Cellar Door Kitchen is situated in the grounds at Sharpham and is open 7 days a week during the season. This new venture from head chef Daniel Teage and his partner Charlie Ramsdale produces delicious dishes from a variety of local and seasonal ingredients, including many handpicked from the estate itself.
With 15 years of experience, Daniel has cooked in Devon for most of his career, and has a passion for wild food, and a strong love of the ocean. As a keen sea angler he enjoys championing lesser known species of fish and cooking sustainable seafood from the abundant supply we have here in the South West.
Visit the online shop.
Directions here by car, boat or bike.
Camel Valley (Cornwall)
Telephone: +44 1208 77959
Producer profile from 11th edition
One of the best producers in the south-west of England and indeed in the country. The Lindo family produced their first vintage in 1992 and have since turned their vineyard and visitor centre into one of Cornwall’s most popular tourist attractions. While the sales achieved through their cellar door are fundamental to the Lindo’s, quality is a key consideration. The vines are planted on a steep southerly slope looking down towards the river Camel near Bodmin. Of course yield is all important in England but it is also as much a question of achieving a crop in the first place. The vines are all trained to single guyot to optimise light exposure and aid ripening. As almost everywhere in England now sparkling wine is of considerable import. The Cornwall Brut is produced from a blend of Seyval Blanc, which works particularly well here, Reichensteiner and Huxelrebe. It is subtly aromatic with a hint of bready, yeasty complexity and gets 15 months ageing on lees. The rosé sparkler is solely from Pinot Noir, with a restrained raspberry note to its fruit it offers better depth and verve than many equivalents from Champagne. The grassy, citrus and mineral scented Bacchus is produced in a completely dry style while the Camel Valley Rosé is a vibrant fruit-driven style from Pinot Noir pressings and Dornfelder. A further white sparkler is produced from Pinot Noir and there is a juicy fruited red from a blend of Dornfelder, Triomphe, Pinot Noir and Rondo as well as a rounder style white, Atlantic. There are a couple of self-catering cottages for those visitors who wish to stay. (DM)
Grand Tour and tasting: £18.00 per person. Essential to book in advance.
Every Wednesday evening at 5.00pm between April and October, with an additional tour at 5.00pm on Thursdays throughout August. A wine maker will personally guide you through the vineyard year and winery process to answer any questions you may have. Afterwards, there will be a fun wine tasting session, beginning with our most famous wine, Cornwall Brut. We aim to taste a minimum of 5 wines.
Take place at 2.30pm, Monday-Friday between April to September (October/November dates may be added). We’ll tell you about the growing season of the vine and show you round the winery too and explain how grapes are transformed into award-winning wines – and of course, a glass of wine is included! Allow an hour, if you have a schedule, or spend the afternoon trying wines on the terrace, all available to purchase by the glass, half glass or bottle.
If a tour is not for you then you can visit Camel Valley and sit on the terrace with stunning views and sip wine by the glass or half glass which is a very relaxing way to taste some of the wines.
A choice of two beautiful cottages, Cowel Gwenyn and Lions Barn, nestling in beautiful countryside on the south-facing side of the Camel Valley. These are very popular so it may be a case of wetting your appetite and planning when you can book in next year!
Visit the shop online here.
Read the full profiles?
Various options here! Obtain a digital version of the full 11th edition or if coffee table books appeal you can order the hardback print version. Join the Club behind the label entitling you to download the digital version as part of your membership cost. Plus access other offers and aspire to Michelin Star style cooking this summer and try all Sonia Blech’s mouth watering recipes!