Wine of the week: a simply incredible English vintage
This late disgorged wine, which has spent nine years on its lees before release, is downright spectacular.
2011 Squerryes, Brut (Late Disgorged 2020), Exclusive Vintage Reserve, Sevenoaks, Kent, England
£65, reduced to £52 for “members” (there is no joining fee), squerryes.co.uk
I am a fan of Squerryes wines, although I don’t taste them as often as I would like because they tend to keep a low profile. I have previously written up both the 2010 and 2013 vintages, five and four years ago respectively, in my column in the Daily Mail, and more recently I have tasted the 2014, 2015 and 2016 vintages. All are very nice wines, and they seem cut from the same, fine cloth, but there has been a gradual evolution in their sophistication as the years roll by and this is evidenced in their depth and length of flavour. I put this down to vine age, as the roots search deeper and gather more complexity to embolden the fruit at harvest time.
When I opened my featured wine, however, my whole understanding of Squerryes changed. Where I had been previously experiencing taut, unyielding acidity coupled with the infinitesimal blossoming of fruit tones, this late disgorged wine, which has spent nine years on its lees before release, is downright spectacular. It is smooth, succulent, layered and luxurious – a completely different beast to the regular vintage releases. You must seek it out to experience this incredible flavour. Winemakers and estates will of course be familiar with the concept of extended lees ageing (and the cost of holding back wines for years before release). But when the results are this epic, the agonising wait for vines to come to maturity is well worth it.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)