December 7th: Denbies Redlands 2014

“Wine Advent Calendar December 7th: Denbies Redlands 2014

My dad used to say that he didn’t forget anything, but sometimes he just didn’t remember. I know what he meant. Let me explain.

My reasoning behind this advent calendar countdown is in part to give a Christmas nod to wines I’ve tasted in my wanderings and haven’t written about; and to give a heads-up to samples I’ve received but not  reviewed elsewhere.

This week a reader of my print column emailed me.  Yippee. I have at least one. Nicola (that’s her name) was asking where she could buy an English red wine as she’d drawn a blank.

Nicola said she had wanted red as Christmas presents because that’s what her family drinks. No problem, I said, and began to search for good red wines to help her out.

Then Denbies Redlands 2014 popped up in the searches followed by a #doh from me. I remembered I was sent this wine last Christmas when it launched into Waitrose, but I ran out of print space and kept the bottle  for another time to  review.

Here we go. This is that time.

Denbies Redlands 2014 review
Denbies Redlands 2014

Denbies Redlands 2014

What is it: It’s an English red wine.

Where’s it from: Denbies Wine Estate is based in Dorking,  Surrey. Find out about the estate  here.

I’ll tell you some more:  I’d suggested to Nicola that she might prefer a white wine. In England and Wales whites can be fabulous. Our climate is changing and the growing conditions for our grapes are improving. In parallel our wine making skills and investment are also on the up.

I’ve never been a fan of English reds. Saying that, the lovely but temperamental pinot noir grape, which prefers cooler climates and goes into a massive sulk if it gets too warm, is our second most planted grape variety behind chardonnay. Have a look at some stats from the English Wine Producers  here.

The Denbies team has said they are “passionate about England’s Denbies Redlands 2014ability to produce first class still wines” and they “have worked hard in the vineyards and winery over the past ten years to push the boundaries”.

The grapes: Pinot noir is half of this wine’s blend, with rondo and dunkelfelder having an almost even split of the remainder.

What of the taste? I’m just off to open the bottle. I’ll be back.

Denbies Redlands is a ruby red and you can see your fingers through the wine in the glass and read words on the other side. It has jammy aromas, a bit like Beaujolais, with a hint of savoury creeping in at the back. It tastes of red fruits and cherries with some spice. Tannins aren’t overpowering and the acidity is good.  Pinot noir does its thing here. It is a wine which doesn’t posture and pose bossily but the fruit flavours disappear quickly and it feels a bit “manufactured”.  I’m left wanting some more personality.

The small print: Denbies Redlands 2014 is 12% abv and is screwcap. It is £12.99 in Waitrose and can be bought online here.

As an aside: I sent this list of 2016 award-winning English reds to Nicola and guess which wine I spotted there. Yes, Denbies Redlands 2014 – a Decanter silver winner.