Category Archives: England

Winemaker profile: Dermot Sugrue

Acclaimed winemaker Dermot Sugrue is passionate about making great English sparkling wines.

Dermot’s passion for winemaking started as a teenager in Ireland, where he experimented with making beer and wine and was inspired to pursue oenology. Dermot’s enthusiasm for winemaking was further fuelled when he was given a copy of Hugh Johnson’s book; Vintage: The Story of Wine. He was so inspired reading it he can still recall whole paragraphs verbatim.

Having previously studied Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia Dermot decided to return to studying and completed a Viticulture and Oenology degree at Plumpton College. He then took this winemaking knowledge forward and gained crucial experience completing vintages in the UK and in Bordeaux at Châteaux including the prestigious Château Leoville-Barton, St Julien.

However, it was his next move that set Dermot on the path to his current success. He joined Nyetimber in 2003, became winemaker a year later and was instrumental in its rise to prominence, competing with the world’s best sparkling wines. A vintage at a Champagne house cemented his skill with fizz and was the final step before Dermot set up Wiston Estate with the Goring family.

Here, Dermot produces his own exciting wine, Sugrue, as well as many other excellent wines produced at Wiston. Dermot focuses on small plots of vines and employs huge attention to detail in both the vineyard and winery to create wines with character and precision. Storrington Priory was planted by Dermot in 2006. The vineyard benefits from the complexity of two soil types and an atypical orientation of the vines.

 

Dermot went on to purchase Mount Harry, a renowned vineyard site, and the two sites provide outstanding grapes for Dermot’s wine, ‘The Trouble with Dreams’, a complex, elegant and award-winning wines which is a culmination of Dermot’s vast winemaking experience and exceptional skill.

I Scream, You Scream, What do you serve with ice cream?

The scorching hot UK summer has seen temperatures exceed 30C sending customers into bars and restaurants in search of ice cream, with some retailers reporting a sales increase of over 100 per cent compared to July 2017.

We’ve taken a closer look at a question hospitality venues are hearing more and more this summer – which wines you should pair with which flavours of ice cream?

Pistachio Ice Cream

Pair this Mediterranean classic ice cream with another classic – Cava. It’s made in the same style as a Champagne, without the slightly larger price tag. The Pinord, Cava ‘+ & + Seleccion’ Brut NV is ideally suited to this ice cream, named because the winemaker’s family that first tasted the wine always wanted a little bit more, and a little bit more, and a bit more… ‘More’ in Spanish is ‘plus’ – and so the name was born.

Blood Orange Sorbet

Moscato d’Asti is your match. Almost any sorbet tastes great with this bubbly, semi-sweet dessert wine – you could even pour the Moscato over the sorbet for a refreshing sorbet float. The Michele Chiarlo ‘Nivole’, Moscato d’Asti 2017 is the wine for the job here, with its floral aromas, which are seamlessly complemented by peach and apricot notes on the fragrant bouquet. The gently sparkling palate is delicate, light and creamy.

Strawberry Ice Cream

When serving a dessert with strawberry ice cream, we would always suggest recommending a glass of off-dry rosé, such as the New Hall Vineyards, Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 from Essex. The wine has notes of ripe cassis and wild raspberry on the finish, which is perfect for cutting the richness of ice cream.

 

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla ice cream is a simple classic, so often overlooked, but it is also a blank canvas for whatever toppings you’d like to serve. If you are topping with nuts or chocolate, you can’t go wrong with the Barros 10 Year Old Tawny Port, with its soft and silky texture, and subtle nuances of wood which are balanced by a fresh acidity and impetus tannin.

 

Plain Greek Frozen Yogurt

The sour notes of plain Greek frozen yogurt pair perfectly with the similar tart flavour profile of a Santorini Vin Santo. The extended barrel aging of the Gaia Wines, Vin Santo, Santorini 2006 provides richness, as well as acidity, resulting in a wine that is deep honey in colour, complex and full-flavoured, with notes of toffee and caramel. For the ultimate pairing experience, serve with baked spiced apples or pears.

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Here’s where Australian Shiraz comes into its element. The rich, red raspberry fruits, chocolate nuances, and subtle eucalyptus notes are cross-complementary with a scoop of mint and chocolate ice cream. A wine that is perfectly suited to this task is the ‘Eight Uncles’, Barossa Valley, Shiraz 2015 from family run winery, Fox Gordon, which specialises in contemporary and premium wines from the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills.

 

WOTM: Goring Estate, Rosé, Sussex NV

Recently picked out by Matthew Jukes for its ‘brilliant balance and calm fruit’ in his pick of the nation’s best, the Goring Estate, Rosé, Sussex NV uses fruit from two vineyards, located on the South Downs in Sussex.

In a nutshell:

A supremely elegant rosé, with a subtle flavour of summer berries, freshly baked bread and spice overlaying a core of tangy acidity. Creamy and textured with a fresh finish.

The producer:

Dermot Sugrue is not exactly a new name in the English wine industry but he is certainly a winemaker at the top of his game. Born in Ireland in 1974, he studied Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton Agricultural College before completing two seasons working at Château l’Eglise-Clinet and Château Leoville-Barton. In 2003 he joined Nyetimber and was appointed winemaker in 2004. Over the following years he oversaw Nyetimber’s emergence as one of the world’s greatest sparkling wine producers. From Nyetimber he moved to the beautiful, family-run Wiston Estate in 2006, nestled in the heart of England’s rolling South Downs in West Sussex, to work with the Goring Family who has owned the estate since 1743. The Goring Brut and Goring Rosé are made exclusively for us by Dermot Sugrue and take their name from the Goring family.

The wine:

The grapes were very gently pressed in a traditional Coquard basket press and a pneumatic press. Most of the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks in order to the purity of fruit, while a proportion was fermented in old oak barrels of 228 litres. This proportion was then aged in the oak barrels for a period of six months, imparting  subtle complexity to the resulting wine. A touch of red wine was added to enhance the colour. It was vinified using the Traditional Method with the secondary fermentation taking place in the bottle. Dosage at disgorging was 11 grams per litre.

Serving suggestion:

The perfect apéritif.

New Year’s Eve Crackers

Which fizzy tipples are most likely to make a New Year’s Eve celebration go off with a bang? Here we look at what will add some sparkle to your celebration.
Something classic…
Champagne Collet Brut, Art Déco NV

A Champagne from one of the new additions to our portfolio; a broad style  with developed biscuity notes from extended ageing on the lees and a lovely long and savoury finish.

A real foodie Champagne that is perfect as an apéritif or served with a light game starter.

Something English…
Sugrue-Pierre, The Trouble with Dreams Brut 2013

You don’t have to go far when looking for an English sparkling wine to impress than Dermot Sugrue’s Trouble with Dreams 2013, which recently took the top spot in the Independent English Wine Awards.

A pure and elegant multi-award winning sparkling wine, showing lemon and apple aromas, leading to a palate of delicate stone fruit and crisp acidity. Long, biscuity and absolutely delicious.

Something French…
Gérard Bertrand, Code Rouge, Crémant de Limoux NV

As a Champagne alternative, the trend for Crémant has grown dramatically in 2017 with those who are after a fizz with a difference.

King of the Languedoc, Gérard Bertrand’s attractively styled Code Rouge has an enticing floral aroma with notes of pear and citrus,refreshing and vibrant on the palate.

This Blanc de Blanc shows great finesse and elegance and works as well as an apéritif as it does with exciting Asian inspired cuisine.

Something South American…
Doña Paula, Sauvage Blanc NV

Guaranteed to be a talking point amongst guests, Doña Paula’s Sauvage Blanc is Argentina’s first 100% Sauvignon Blanc sparkling wine which shows intense aromas of orange blossom, hints of
grapefruit and an intriguing touch of mint.

An SWA Silver Medal winner in 2017, this fizz also doubles up as an amazing apéritif or served alongside rich fish dishes of salmon,
tuna or shellfish.

Something Italian…
Feudi di San Gregorio, Dubl + Spumante Greco NV

Another conversation starter, this is a traditional method sparkling wine with a fine and persistent mousse made using 100% Greco.

Floral and fruity aromas of pumpkin flowers, honey, mango and citrus fruits contrast with the chalky vibe of the Greco grape. A good weight on the palate combines with youthfulness and a persistent minerality typical of the terroir.

Something to kick off the event…
Quady Winery, Vya Extra Dry Vermouth & Quady Winery, Vya Sweet Vermouth

No better way to welcome guests to an event than with a pre-dinner cocktail. Quady Winery has designed the Perfect Manhattan, using two of its signature Vermouth creations.

  • 60ml straight rye whiskey
  • 15ml Vya Sweet Vermouth
  • 15ml Vya Extra Dry Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Lemon or orange twist

Stir well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and twist a swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top.

 

Are you ready for Rosé?

The sun has come out again and it’s time to put that Rosé back on ice. Below are a six-pack of wines that are sure to get your customers back into the summer mood.

Goring Estate Rosé NV

Dermot Sugrue is not exactly a new name in the English wine industry but he is certainly a winemaker at the top of his game. Born in Ireland in 1974, he studied Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton Agricultural College before completing two seasons working at Chateau l’Eglise-Clinet and Chateau Leoville-Barton. In 2003 he joined Nyetimber and was appointed winemaker in 2004. Over the following years he oversaw Nyetimber’s emergence as one of the world’s greatest sparkling wine producers. From Nyetimber he moved to Wiston Estate in 2006 to work with the Goring Family of West Sussex. The Goring Brut is made exclusively for us by Dermot Sugrue.

A supremely elegant rosé, with a subtle flavour of summer berries, freshly baked bread and spice overlaying a core of tangy acidity. Creamy and textured with a fresh finish.

Gerard Bertrand, La Sauvageonne 2015

Gérard Bertrand is one of the most outstanding winemakers in the South of France, where he owns numerous estates among the most prestigious crus of LanguedocRoussillon. Named in 2012 as the IWC Red Winemaker of the Year and Wine Enthusiast’s European Winery of the Year, he is known locally as the “King” of the Languedoc. Brought up in the Languedoc vineyards, Gérard Bertrand is committed to sharing the characteristics and exceptional diversity of each of the terroirs. Twenty years of know-how ensures that wines bearing Gérard Bertrand’s signature have a unique style driven each day by four fundamental values: excellence, authenticity, conviviality and innovation. We firmly believe Gérard will become one of the leading French names in the UK.

The bouquet offers up notes of crushed strawberries, sweet spice and floral notes of violet and hawthorne. Powerful and generous, with a velvety texture and a revitalising freshness. This wine is built on tension and stamped with a brilliant salinity.

San Marzano, Tramari 2016

In 1962, 19 vine growers from San Marzano whose families had farmed the land for generations, combined their efforts to establish ‘Cantine San Marzano’. Through the decades this cooperative has grown significantly, attracting over 1,200 vine growers. Using modern and technologically advanced vinification techniques they produce elegant wines that pay homage to the ancient Apulian wine traditions. The fusion of time honoured tradition, passion and contemporary techniques, enables this winery to produce wines with distinctive varietal and regional characteristics while reflecting the local terroir. In the Sommelier Wine Awards, San Marzano was awarded European Producer of the Year 2017.

Made from the Primitivo grape, this is a very appealing pale and tangy rosé with aromas of roses and wild strawberries against a creamy background of Mediterranean spice.

Frescobaldi, Alie 2016

A Florentine family with thirty generations dedicated to the production of great wines across six Tuscan estates. The Frescobaldi style brings together tradition and innovation. With the goal of being the most prestigious Tuscan wine producer, Frescobaldi firmly believes in respecting the local land while focusing on the highest quality grapes for its wines. The Frescobaldis own over 1,000 hectares of vineyards, all located in excellent areas for the production of fine wines. Directly managed by its family members, the Frescobaldi name is deeply connected with the history of art, culture, trade, finance and wine in Italy.

Refined and elegant, Alìe is characterised by its delicate rose colour and subtle peach highlights. Fresh with ripe fruits, citrus, white melon and a hint of cherry, the palate is textured with a streak of minerality. A beautifully balanced wine, with an intense and persistent finish.

Campuget, ‘1753’ Rosé Syrah Vermentino 2016

Costières de Nimes, the easternmost appellation of the Languedoc, is effectively part of the Rhône since the climate, soil and topography are so similar to those just over the river in the southern Côtes-du-Rhône vineyards. The relatively uniform soils are marked by large pebbles on gentle, typically south-facing slopes. Château de Campuget was established in 1942 and is a top quality estate near Nîmes, steeped in history. The Château itself was built in 1753 and at the same time the first vines were planted, prompting the 1753 range of wines which mark this historic date. The fusion of tradition and progression unite in the cellars here, producing wines with integrity, finesse and a wonderful expression of terroir, from a wide range of traditional Rhône varieties.

This dry, aromatic rosé shows enticing notes of grapefruit with delicate citrus hints, a refreshing palate of elegant red berry fruits and passion fruit.

Saint Clair, Pinot Rosé Gris 2016

Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in ten different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual “terroir” and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand’s leading winemaking teams, led by Matt Thomson and Hamish Clark. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today.

A fresh and luscious palate with bright sweet strawberries, watermelon and red cherry. Well balanced fresh acidity ensures a round elegant palate and a lingering finish.

 

What to serve with your strawberries at Wimbledon

The quintessential pairing of strawberries and cream is traditionally served alongside Champagne, but what are the alternatives? Here we look at the other strawberry based dishes that could be served up over Wimbledon and what is best to serve with them.

 

Strawberries and cream

Although it is traditional to serve Champagne on Murray Mound or Henman Hill with strawberries, a sparkling wine with a bit of residual sugar will be equally delicious, such as the San Silvestro, Moscato d’Asti DOCG NV which has 88g residual sugar. This sparkling wine is fresh, fragrant and delicately sweet with a fine mousse.

 

Unsweetened strawberries or served plain with a little sugar

Perfectly ripe berries, especially wild strawberries can be delicious with an off-dry sparkling wine such as Carpene Malvolti, 1868 Extra Dry Prosecco Superiore DOCG Conegliano Valdobbiadene NV which is lively, with a crisp acidity and 16g residual sugar.

 

Strawberry tarts or shortcakes

The additional sweetness you get from the pastry or shortbread means your wine needs to be that bit sweeter. We’d pair either of these desserts with Berton Vineyard, Botrytis Semillon 2015 with its luscious, honeyed flavours of peach and apricot.

 

If you’re not a fan of strawberries, you can still embrace Wimbledon’s Britishness with Bacchus and serve a glass of New Hall, Bacchus Reserve 2016, from Purleigh in Essex. New Hall’s vineyards benefit from a very special microclimate and Purleigh is one of the warmest and sunniest spots in the country (unlike centre court).

 

WOTM: Goring Brut NV, Wiston Estate

To celebrate English Wine Week kicking off on 27 May our Wine of this Month is Goring Estate Brut NV, a wine from The King of English Sparkling Wine himself, Dermot Sugrue.

In a nutshell: 

An elegant, complex English sparkling wine combining a youthful purity of fruit with subtle toasty, nutty notes.

The producer:

Dermot Sugrue is not exactly a new name in the English wine

industry but he is certainly a winemaker at the top of his game. Born in Ireland in 1974, he studied Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton Agricultural College before completing two seasons working at Chateau l’Eglise-Clinet and Chateau Leoville-Barton. In 2003 he joined Nyetimber and was appointed winemaker in 2004. Over the following years he oversaw Nyetimber’s emergence as one of the world’s greatest sparkling wine producers. From Nyetimber he moved to Wiston Estate in 2006 to work with the Goring Family of West Sussex. The Goring Brut is made exclusively for us by Dermot Sugrue. It comes from the chalky soils of the South Downs in West Sussex which are not dissimilar to the vineyards of the Côtes de Blancs in Champagne.

The wine:

This was the first crop from a Sussex vineyard planted on chalk in 2006, harvested in near perfect conditions. Equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, it is pressed in traditional Coquard basket press with small portion put to new oak. 18 months on the lees with 8g/L dosage.

 

SUGRUE PIERRE BRUT, TROUBLE WITH DREAMS, 2013 ONLY SPARKLING TO TAKE HOME GOLD AT INAUGURAL IEWA

Sugrue Pierre Brut, Trouble With Dreams 2013 has become the only sparkling wine to win gold at the inaugural IEWA, coming first out of 32 English sparkling wines.

The IEWA (The Independent English Wine Awards) announced its results on Saturday 18 March following rigorous judging from winemakers, Masters of Wine, sommeliers, buyers, merchants, journalists and educators.

The fourth vintage of Sugrue Pierre Brut, ‘The Trouble With Dreams’ comes from the 2013 harvest, sourcing fruit from Storrington Priory Vineyard, this is the first vintage where the majority of grapes came from the exceptional Mount Harry Vineyard, near Lewes in East Sussex.

The Independent English Wine Awards is a new world-class, independent wine competition created to reward, promote and celebrate the best of English wine. ‘The IEWA’ is aimed at the consumer, to raise awareness, inform, engage, promote and ultimately help increase sales of English wine and assist the continued development of the industry. Of course it is also an exercise in celebration: of excellence, achievement, growth and really great wines.

 

 

 

 

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Winemaking As An Art Form – Restaurant Magazine, March issue, Jane Parkinson

In Jane Parkinson’s Liquid Assets feature of March’s Restaurant Magazine she takes a look at Winemaking as an art form… 

 

Wine of the Month:

Paringa Estate The Paringa Pinot Noir, 2O12
This is not cheap, but is one of the leading lights of Mornington Peninsula and this release is stunning. It is bold yet retains enough Pinot delicacy and has a fresh acidity with red cherry juiciness. It also has broad tannin shoulders after 10 months in French oak but it matches up perfectly to the generous fruit.


San Marzano Tramari Primitivo Rosé
2016 

A chirpy and well-priced rosé, from a Puglian co-operative. lt is pale salmon in colour, dry and bright with strawberry, cranberry and raspberry.


Lismore The Age of Grace Viognier, 2O16

A barrel fermented Viognier aged for a further 11 months in 2251 Burgundian barrels. It’s rich with peach schnapps.


Sugrue Pierre Brut, 2013
This excellent fizz is from Dermot Sugrue. With 8g/l dosage and some fermented in new oak, this is classy with lemon sherbet fruit and buttered toast richness.


Ancilla Lugana, 2015
Coming off the shores of Lake Garda, this has a plush side, thanks to the 10% fermented in oak. lt has melons with an almond nuttiness for texture.


Ellevin Chablis Brigitte Cerveau, 2015
A zippy, zesty chardonnay with taut lemon that isn’t sour thanks to the salty lick of chalk and biscuit that make this feel medium bodied in weight.