Flint Vineyard Charmat

Norfolk-based Flint Vineyard has claimed it was the first English vineyard to begin fermenting a sparkling wine in the style of a Prosecco, using the ‘Charmat’ method, after officially releasing it last week. The new wine, a Rosé, is Flint’s first sparkling to go on sale.
The announcement arrives on the same month that another English winery, Fitz, based in West Sussex, releases a Charmat method sparkling wine. Their Fitz Sparkling White Wine was the first Prosseco-style England fizz to be released to the market, after beginning fermentation shortly after Flint’s.
The Charmat method, named after the Frenchman Eugene Charmat who patented it, is different to the technique used in traditional English sparkling wines, which use the traditional (ie bottle fermented) method, as used in Champagne. In the Charmat method, the secondary fermentation takes place in a tank rather than after bottling, resulting in a wine that is more fruit-driven and approachable.
Ben Witchell, the winemaker at Flint Vineyard, is keen to differentiate his Charmat from Prosecco, commenting: “This is not a simple, fruit-bomb wine. I used methods such as partial barrel ageing and extended time on yeast lees with the production of the base wine to try and achieve more complexity and texture in the final wine”.
The two new wines may be seen as statements of intent from English winemakers who are increasingly confident in the wide range of styles they can produce. However, the new style may cause concern amongst traditional UK sparkling producers, who have spent a long time building a reputation for excellent bottle-fermented fizz.
Ben, who also has a traditional-method sparkling wine already in production, believes that the Charmat method should be seen as an innovative development rather than a threat. He commented: “We use different grape varieties and press fractions to those that we use in our bottle fermented wine. And we’ve deliberately packaged our Charmat to make it clear that it is not a traditional method.’
Flint Vineyard’s Charmat Rosé is now on sale at their cellar door and online. See flintvineyard.com for further details.

Posted in Consumer News and tagged , , , , .