The Buyer travels to the Hampshire winery, Jenkyn Place to taste and assess five vintages of the Jenkyn Place Brut Cuvée, Sparkling Rosé and Blanc de Noirs. This unique vertical tasting of the winery’s premium English sparkling wines is a first even for both owner Simon Bladon and winemaker Dermot Sugrue.
The Quintessentially English wines of Jenkyn Place Part 2
Re-evaluating the sparkling wines of Jenkyn Place with winemaker Dermot Sugrue and owner Simon Bladon
Earlier this year The Buyer attended a unique tasting of all the vintages of the sparkling wines of Jenkyn Place. In an earlier post we soaked up the English charm of this family owned and run winery that is nestled on South-facing chalk slopes of the North Downs in Hampshire.
So how are the available vintages shaping up?
The tasting we have is of eight wines – five Brut Cuvée, two Sparkling Rosé and one Blanc de Noirs.
Jenkyn Place Brut Cuvée 2010
60% Chardonnay, 32% Pinot Noir, 8% Pinot Meunier
The latest vintage from Jenkyn Place, this wine has an attractive, floral nose with a hint of yeast (more than the older vintages). This is tight, precise, very acidic but still with a great balance of sugar. There are beautiful lime notes and a crisp dryness. The mousse is quite subtle and the bubbles seem to die off quickly.
2010 was the perfect vintage, according to winemaker Sugrue because of the ripeness, balance of sugar and acidity, and also the absence of rot.
Jenkyn Place Brut Cuvée 2009
65% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier
Less yeast on nose, this is altogether leaner and crisper with notes of crab apple and a slight sherbet. This is Jenkyn Place’s best Brut Cuvée to date and shows the real change winemaker Sugrue has made – giving the wine a distinct ‘flinty’ mineral energy. It has an almost nervous tingly spine, which is apparent especially on the front palette. It has quite a broad flavour that makes it work well as an aperitif but also a food wine – pair it with with poultry and seafood dishes.
The Sommelier Wine Awards 2013 awarded it a gold medal for best match with fish and chips. Will age well for another three years at least. It was aged for three years on the lees.
Jenkyn Place Brut Cuvée 2008
72% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier
This is the first vintage made by Sugrue and he describes it as “Exactly what I was hoping to achieve.” It has an attractive nose that is vegetal, almost ‘asparagus wee’, if that isn’t too unattractive! The wine is slightly sweeter, but again has great balance with tight green acidity, hints of strawberry on what is an attractive finish.
Jenkyn Place Brut Cuvée 2007
60% Chardonnay, 24% Pinot Noir, 16% Pinot Meunier
This has a slightly ‘pickled’ nose, a kamchi quality that is unattractive. What is clear immediately is how developed the wine is. The wine is balanced on the mouth, it has some oxidation but noticeably less acidity and a little bit of sap on the finish. The overall taste is soft and expansive with overt, open flavours, and a honeyed aged quality.
This was not a vintage that Sugrue was responsible for but, in his own words:
“2007 was a very tough vintage, very challenging, there was poor flowering and lots of rain, moisture, mildew – very poor conditions. The style of this wine is what a lot of people like to call ‘English champagne’ and is the style I was interested in avoiding, I don’t want the wines to age too quickly.”
There are under a dozen bottles left of this vintage.
Jenkyn Place Brut Cuvée 2006
61% Chardonnay, 23% Pinot Noir, 16% Pinot Meunier
Given that this is a wine made from three year-old vines and having spent just two and a half years on the lees, it has hugely appealing aged qualities – it has matured well.
There is an immediate mature character on the nose. The palate is lovely, fresh green apple, very balanced, settled down and in a comfortable place. There’s not masses of length and a slightly green after taste but in a good way.
There are only 12 dozen bottles left of this vintage.
The Jenkyn Place Brut Cuvée 2006 and 2008 were served with two types of smoked trout – each 3lb and caught and smoked by Simon. The 06 was served with the smoked white trout the 08 with smoked brown trout.
Jenkyn Place Sparkling Rosé 2009
80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay
Beautifully deep pink, this has summer fruits on the nose – redcurrant, strawberries, cherries. The wine clearly has a long way to go, it is fresh and intense and has a racy backbone of acidity, but balanced by the high levels of ripeness (not so much sugar). The palate is still a little tannic but reveals floral, red cherry and intense strawberry notes. Although it was tasting well I would leave it two to three years when it will be regarded as a real classic.
2009 was a vintage that Sugrue describes as producing dense, compact wines that will “unfurl” in time. It was Jenkyn Place’s best ever vintage with the best of the Pinot Noir picked late.
Jenkyn Place Sparkling Rosé 2008
44% Chardonnay, 42% Pinot Noir, 14% Pinot Meunier
Very attractive salmon-coloured Rosé. Complex on the nose – strawberries and other red summer fruit cream on both the nose and on the palate, with just a hint of fruit syrup in the elegant finish. It has also got a nuttiness that comes from three years on the lees. This has been aged in five year-old barrels with just a bit of toast. Also aged for two years on the cork.
This is a serious Rosé that’s matured well and still has a way to go but is drinking beautiful now both as an aperitif and match with food – canapés, smoked salmon and a range of seafood dishes.
Jenkyn Place Blanc de Noirs 2010
50% Pinot Noir, 50% Pinot Meunier
Both on the nose and the palate this is clearly the most complex wine of all that we have tasted. There is a sumptuous nose of citrus, nuts and spice. The palate is richer and has bags of flavour – ripe orchard fruits, freshly toasted brioche. The mousse is abundant and the acidic structure and balance underpin the wine very well. Extremely complex on the long length – this is a really stunning wine which will be fascinating to taste over the next three years.
Serve as an aperitif or partner with Asian fusion.
The Blanc de Noirs comes in a flint glass bottle – very distinctive but is this the best style of bottle for a wine that clearly will come into its own after some more years in the bottle?
The wines of Jenkyn Place are available from New Generation Wines.