Lyme Bay Winery, the flavour arm of LBW Drinks, has released the 2018 vintage of its award-winning Chardonnay and considers it to be ‘exceptional’. This is the first time the Devon-based drinks producer has released a still English Wine vintage ahead of an older year, and will move straight on from 2016 to 2018 leaving the 2017 Chardonnay in the cellar.
The 2018 English grape harvest has been recognised by producers and English Wine experts as especially good in terms of both quality and quantity. The team at Lyme Bay believe the parcels they pressed have developed into a wine of great structure and character now ready to be enjoyed.
By comparison, regular tasting of samples has prompted the cellar team to judge that the 2017 vintage will develop the great potential it has with a further period of maturation.
James Lambert, managing director at LBW Drinks said: “As an experienced producer, we consider each harvest in relation to how the growing season will influence the wine. Our focus is to ensure each wine has structure and delivers in terms of flavour and varietal character.
“As a result, we release each wine when we believe it is ready and most likely to delight discerning drinkers.
“We are able to do this because we work with a small group of growers that share our interest in nurturing selected still wine clones – an approach that is perhaps unique amongst English producers.
“Our ambition, through minimal intervention in the winery, is to allow each wine to develop so it is the best expression possible of the grape, the vineyard locations and of the particular growing season. That’s why we made the decision to release the 2018 now and allow the 2017 to develop its full potential.”
The 2018 growing season meant both unprecedented quality and yields. Harvesting happened at the peak of flavour and phenolic ripeness. This ensured natural levels of alcohol previously unheard of in this country. The 13.5% ABV Chardonnay now being released was produced without chaptalisation.
Fermentation was achieved with a mix of wild and Burgundy yeasts with maturation in two year-old French Oak and stainless steel.
The resulting Lyme Bay Chardonnay 2018 is a well-rounded full-bodied dry wine with subtle buttery flavours and aromas of peach and honey. Lightly oaked, it is extremely versatile in terms of food pairings and would compliment a range of fish dishes such as creamy fish pies or fish cakes, yet can be equally enjoyed on its own.
It retails at £22.49 per bottle and is available directly from the winery’s website.