Lyme Bay Pinot Noir 2020

Lyme Bay Pinot Noir 2020, 12.5%, England 

(from £27.99, Lyme Bay website & cellar door, Amps Fine Wines, Fareham Cellars, Tivoli, Elizabeth Rose, Wickham Wines etc)

When we put this tip out via social media, someone responded along the lines of: all English Pinots taste like battery acid and, at this price, sticking to French Pinot is preferable.

Our response was: you need to keep an open mind – and try this one.

Wine lovers are, by nature, open minded and keen to try new things.

It’s understandable that high price points – like this one undeniably is – act as a disincentive. You need to have a good reason to splash out significant cash to try something largely unproven.

But equally, there’s the thrill of discovering something new and wonderful. Which is exactly what this wine is.

When tasting blind, Susie had this down as Tasmania or New Zealand. It has weight, density and complexity – things not often associated with English Pinot.

The aromas are vivid summer berries with hints of stem and leaf, plus smoky overtones. On the palate, it’s beautifully juicy and elegantly bittersweet, with focus and freshness. Great poise.

The fruit is sourced from the Crouch Valley in Essex – one of the most exciting areas for Pinot Noir still wines in the country right now.

(Though this does bring me on to a serious criticism of the wine – the prominent ‘Devon’ on the front label is misleading…even if it does refer to Lyme Bay’s location rather than the vineyards.)

The vines are low-yielding and it’s astonishing to think this was the first crop for many of the vines. Around 1,000 cases were made.

We know all about the quality of Essex Pinot Noir, having helped make one ourselves with Danbury Ridge. So this is just another reminder of the huge potential for this region to make delicious, expectation-defying and palate-delighting wines. 

It’s well worth a try.