Leading, wine magazine Decanter’s tasting panel have awarded Henley’s Fairmile Vineyard’s Classic Cuvée the highest score Outstanding (95 points/100) in their English sparkling white wine blind tastings, announced in their January 2020 edition.
Three fine wine experts, Susie Barrie, Freddy Bulmer and Stephen Skelton tasted 53 English sparking white wines, vintage or non-vintage priced at £50 or under. Entrants included many illustrious and long-established English brands. The Fairmile Vineyard’s Classic Cuvée was the only wine to be given the Outstanding score. Jan and Anthea Mirkowski bought the property and land at the Fairmile Vineyard in 2013 and planted 12,000 French vines on seven and half acres of the sloped land. The first harvest of grapes was completed in 2015 with the first bottles from this harvest only going on sale in August last year.
Jan & Anthea said, “We are awestruck that our Classic Cuvée has beaten all the competition to be awarded: ‘Outstanding’ status. We knew that our first release, which is still available from the vineyard, was good and it has been extremely well-received by the public and trade alike. As the vines mature, we are hoping that future releases will taste better still – if that’s possible!”
The Fairmile Vineyard Classic Cuvée is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, and sees nine months of oak ageing before release. Susie Barrie commented, “Antique gold colour. Attractive creamy roasted nut aromas. In the mouth it is rounded and rich with savoury flavours and a long, creamy finish. Freddy Bulmer said, “Toasty autolytic nose but without being overbearing or too one-dimensional. There are hints of vanilla and the oak is used well here. The palate is rich and generous, yet has a sense of being restrained. Really nice! Stephen Skelton conclude by saying, “There’s plenty of good juicy fruit here on the nose and mouth. The finish is long-lasting. A superb example.”
This award follows Thames & Chilterns Vineyard Association giving a gold medallion for the rosé , and a bronze for the Classic Cuvée within a month of launch.