The HRC team reached out to Sam Linter, MD and Head Winemaker at Bolney and Head of GB wines to discuss their Pinot Noir, British sparkling wines and what to expect from the 'Discover English Wines' session where host Jane Parkinson will be showcasing their products and offering visitors a chance to taste Bolney's British wines and learn more about what makes their wines so great!
Q: How long have you been growing Pinot Noir at The Bolney Estate?
From the mid 1980’s but the Bolney Wine Estate has been grounded in nature since my parents planted the first vines in 1972 to create what was then only the sixth commercial vineyard in England. We specialise in producing premium red, white, rose and sparkling English wines and the estate has continued to invest in specialist machinery including, a 60 hector litre press, a new disgorging line and 8 new wine tanks. In 2018 we started construction of a new winery at Bolney, which allowed us to triple our production with a capacity to produce 500,000 bottles of wine and 2020 is going to be a very exciting time for us with lots of new developments underway.
Q: Why is Pinot Noir a great variety for the UK?
Pinot Noir is a great variety for cooler climates, which suit its natural elegance and red fruit flavours. That being said, it is a delicate grape (thin-skinned), so you need to have a knowledgeable and skilled vineyard team in place. It takes care and hard work but you can produce some stunning wines with this grape.
Q: Mostly used in English sparkling wine, what appeals to you to make still wine?
I’m a big fan of red wines and here at Bolney we loved the idea of challenging ourselves to make something that others were not. At the time, the concept of an English red wine was unheard of, but it really paid off for us.
Q: What can we look forward to in the 2018 Pinot Noir that is to be showcased in Jane Parkinson’s ‘Discover English Wine’ Masterclass taking place at HRC?
This vintage is really well balanced with soft tannins and a smooth, creamy finish. On the palate look out for juicy strawberry, red cherry and plum. You may also pick up notes of leather, spice and chocolate.
Q: What is the future for Pinot Noir in the UK?
We’ve already seen a couple more English Pinots appear on the market in the past few years. I think that as the industry continues to grow in knowledge and confidence, that planting Pinot Noir for still English wines will start to become more popular. In the meantime, we’ll be continuing to develop our own Pinot, alongside new challenges!
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