County Business Clubs’ Wine of the Month June 2024

11th June 2024

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The June pick is Smock Alley English Sparkling Brut Rose 2020.

We first reviewed Smock Alley last year and, I am pleased to say, that they continue to release excellent English sparkling wines.

Smock Alley is a co-operative vineyard in West Sussex, based at West Chiltington in West Sussex. It works with a group of volunteers who manage their own rows from the start of the pruning to the harvesting of the grapes.

Sarah, the owner, is very passionate with her wines and has created a great model for community based involvement for localised wine production. In her own words: “The combination of teamwork and passion for the vineyard and the product makes a very special wine.”

Sarah has also brought in the UK’s best wine maker, Dermot Sugrue, to assist. He was head winemaker at Nyetimber and Wistons and now runs Sugrue South Downs, which has been winner of Wine GB Boutique Wine Producer for the last three years running. The vineyard also works with Wiston Estate for bottling and shows how collaboration and partnering can work across the wine industry to assist smaller producers in bringing top quality wines to market.

This month’s review is of Smock Alley’s Rose 2020, a blend of both Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Red grapes provide more fruit characteristics than Chardonnay which they are often blended with.

Michael’s tasting notes for Smock Alley 2020

Light on the nose, you get a hint of red berries, strawberry jam and cranberry.

On the palate we have fine bubbles, lots of berries, with a lovely balanced acidity and refreshing citrus in the background. It is the perfect wine to have with friends or family in the sun and is dangerously quaffable. It works well straight out of the fridge and is very refreshing. I would suggest having at least two bottles in stock as a glass each may not be enough!

For food pairing – I would recommend serving this with a dressed crab and mixed salad with balsamic dressing – a lovely match.

This wine retails at £27 a bottle and is limited. It can be purchased directly from the vineyard. Be quick as in 2020 the harvest was challenging due to a late May frost which limited the amount of grapes for this vintage. See the following link for more details;

Michael Yeoman, Founder of Brighton and Hove Wine Club

Michael Yeoman specialises in working with small batch wine producers in and around Sussex and the South Downs. He founded Brighton and Hove Wine Club and also creates a range of small batch Sussex brandies, grape spirits and vodka through Spirit of the Downs based at Bolney.