Lyme Bay Pinot Noir is an English red wine made in Devon but from grapes a little further afield. The Pinot Noir grapes for this wine were, in fact, sourced from a single vineyard between the River Crouch and River Blackwater in Essex. I am not sure if this is a massive top secret, but a quick web search will tell you the name of the vineyard!
The Lyme bay Winery was founded by Nigel Howard and has made its name over the years for the production of a wide range of fruit wine, ciders, meads and liqueurs from their base in the Axe Valley in Devon. Whilst they still produce a wide range of these products, Lyme Bay Winery planted 26,000 vines in 2009 and 2010 within a stone’s throw of the winery and have since branched out with a good range of still and sparkling English wines. As well as farming their own vines, they also buy grapes from other grape growers in the South of England and argue that “truly special wines are born from grapes with diverse backgrounds.” The head winemaker is Northern Ireland born Liam Idzikowski who has previously worked at Langham Estate and Camel Valley. His move primarily prompted by Liam’s desire to produced high quality English still wines.
As mentioned above, the fruit for Lyme Bay Pinot Noir is sourced from a single vineyard between the River Crouch and River Blackwater in Essex. The two rivers shleter the vineyards producing a mesoclimate characterised by brings mild winters and hot dry summers, allowing the production of high quality, ripe grapes. Additionally, 2016 was considered to be a pretty exceptional vintage in the UK. The vineyards are located on gravelly soils and, in 2016, produced Pinot Noir at ripeness levels which were on par with what you would expect in Burgundy rather than England. The grapes were carefully hand-selected and processed by gravity before receiving 5 days of cold maceration to enhance colour stability and extract maximum flavour. The wine was pressed early to maintain the colour intensity and then racked off gross lees into François Frères barrels (60 percent in 2 year old barrels and 40 percent into 5 year old barrels) for 11 months of élevage. Only 5 barrels were produced.
Like the Lyme Bay Sandbar Bacchus, the label features a watercolour of a Dorset-inspired shoreline by artist Dina Campbell