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Davenport Horsmonden Dry – English White Wine
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This wine is very fresh, has lovely aroma and is a joy to drink.
It’s fresh style makes it a wonderful any-time drink but will also partner well aromatic fish dishes, such as a Thai curry or a simple crab salad. It’s wonderful all-year round but particularly in the summer.
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The Limney Estate is owned by England’s leading organic wine producer, Will Davenport. The first vineyard was planted in 1991 at Horsmonden, Kent and, as the operation developed, Will moved to a winery over the border in East Sussex at Rotherfield. The fruit comes from vineyards around Horsmonden and Rotherfield. Today, the vineyards cover 24 acres of land and grow vines for both still and sparkling wine. The vineyards were converted to organic farming from 2000 and all the wines are now certified by the Soil Association.
In the winery the approach is to let nature take its course but under the management of the wine maker. Will Davenport is a Chemistry graduate and has a degree in winemaking from Roseworthy, Australia. The role of the winemaker is to guide the wine rather than intervene. The fermentation is performed by indigenous yeasts, as little fining or filtration is carried out (the wine is allowed to clear by natural settling) and most fermentations take place at an ambient temperature.
The Horsmonden vineyard lies in west Kent and was the first UK vineyard planted by Will and was established in 1991. The vineyard was planted with a range of varieties which were in vogue at the time and have proved to be successful at producing a unique dry white blend. The varieties include Ortega, Bacchus, Faber, Siegerrebe and Huxelrebe. Ortega makes up the majority of the blend with the other grapes adding a range of aromatics and flavours.
The wine has long been a favourite due to its layered aromatics of grapefruit, peach, elderflower and honeysuckle, the freshness of the palate and its ability
to age. The ageing process integrates the brisk acidity and allows a more complex flavour range to develop. In fact, Will would argue that the wine starts to reach its peak at two years old, so we are going to taste the wine as it is getting into its tasting plateau. A fresh style like this is super as an aperitif but will also partner fragrant fish dishes, so think of a Thai prawn soup or white fish and lemon grass. Alternatively, in the summer with a green salad and dressed crab.
The Horsmonden Dry is made using indigenous yeasts. These are the yeasts to be found in the vineyard and winery. The vineyard yeasts tend to start the alcoholic fermentation and die off when the alcohol reaches 4%-5% abv. Then the winery yeasts take over and ferment the sugars until dryness. By using the indigenous yeasts and not a cultured yeast the wine will have more complexity and, it is believed by some, a greater sense of place or uniqueness. In order to develop texture 10% of the blend was fermented in large foudres (massive oak casks traditionally used in Alsace) which gives the wine a really soft feel and smooth creamy structure.
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