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ThirtyFifty - Hens

Wine News

2011 English vintage finishes on a ripe note

English yields are low this year - perhaps half or less of the 2009 and 2010 levels - but as as result of the early start with the hot spring and the light load on the vine, the theme of high ripeness/flavour, balanced with decent acidities, is already emerging for the 2011 vintage.

In common with most of Europe, Hush Heath, best known for its Balfour Brut Rosé, is three weeks to a month ahead with the harvest, the result of early flowering during the unusually hot weather in May and early June.

It is unlikely that any chaptalisation – adding sugar – will be necessary this year, says Mike Roberts of Sussex winery RidgeView. He reports that he has wonderful tasting fruit but will need to be careful not to get too much colour from the red grapes. He is confident the 2011 vintage will be of high quality.

Devon producer Yearlstone said they harvested their red grapes with a natural alcohol ripeness of close to 12.5% which is perhaps their ripest crop of grapes for a decade. And at Biddenden in Kent owner Julian Barnes was also bullish. It is quality not quantity he said and he is pleased that the grapes have good sugar and acid levels.