"Nobody does it better", sang Carly Simon in 1977 for The Spy Who Loved Me soundtrack. Fast forward many years and this is what the People's Choice Drinks Awards judges have thought about Lyme Bay's Sparkling Rosé NV for the last two years running. It's a finalist again in 2021! 🍾
Readers of these pages will know that I'm a big fan of the direction Lyme Bay has been going in with their still and sparkling wines. The Devon company has long been one of this country's most innovative drinks producers, with a growing range of award-winning wines, as well as ciders, fruit wines, meads, spirits and liqueurs. They source grapes from a selection of top growers in the South of England and released their first English wine back in 2015.
Despite the double whammy of Brexit and the coronavirus, Lyme Bay Winery continues to innovate and sees some room for optimism about the future. Here's a quote from Managing Director, James Lambert: "It's a challenging time for all businesses at the moment and English wine is not exempt. Brexit will certainly be causing problems for producers who export to the EU. We are also seeing issues with glass supplies, as the majority of bottles are produced in the EU. There are, however, some opportunities domestically to increase interest in English wine. Retailers have an opportunity to really promote English wine with a coherent approach, including having a designated section on their shelves. We could see a big surge in sales, as people look to support locally-made products."
"COVID is also causing huge issues for some English wine producers. Those who sell mainly to the on-trade will have a great deal of stock sitting in warehouses needing to be turned into cash. Those who rely on supermarkets and selling directly to consumers are faring better. There has actually been an increase in sales where consumers are unable to go to bars and restaurants. We are very lucky that we do both and already had an e-commerce website before COVID hit. Looking to the positives and to the future, the 2020 harvest was truly exceptional for English wine. This will only boost its profile, as these wines come onto the market."
Lyme Bay Sparkling Rosé NV (12% ABV) is produced by blending Lyme Bay Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir) with a small proportion of red wine made from hand-harvested, exceptionally ripe Burgundy-clone Pinot Noir. Grapes are sourced from Crouch Valley Vineyard in Essex (60%) and D'Urberville Vineyard in Dorset (40%). The wine, based on the 2018 vintage, was aged for 20 months on lees and residual sugar is 5.4 g/L.
Colour: pale pink-orange.
Nose: fruity notes of strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants with a creamy undertone of caramel custard.
Palate: fresh and dry with similar red berry notes, a touch of pear and some yeasty, honeyed almond and toffee-like richness supporting the fruit. There's a refreshing tang of pink grapefruit and redcurrant acidity on the long finish too.
Food match: Ideal for a Valentine's Day toast or served with smoked salmon, chicken or mushroom risotto.
RRP is £28.99 and the wine is available online from Lyme Bay (currently on special offer for £25.99).
You may not have a spy who loves you (or maybe you do 🔍), but whoever the love of your life is, sneak in a bottle of this sparkling English pink delight! It's the perfect wine for Valentine's Day!
🎵 "Baby, baby, darlin', you're the best." 💖