Chartham Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018
Tasting Notes: This delicate yet firm, silky and rich red wine is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes hand-picked from our vineyard in October 2018. This wine is pale crimson in colour and displays Morello cherry and vanilla characters on the nose. The palate is delicate yet firm - both silky and rich with a long finish.
Grape: 100% Pinot Noir
Chartham Vineyard, close to the historic city of Canterbury in East Kent, is owned by Dr Roz Waller and her husband Richard Goodenough and managed by Richard's son, Andy.
Vines were first planted here in 2013, in part of our family farm where soils match the terroir of the Champagne region of France.
We work with the highly respected John Worontschak and Mathieu Elzinga of Litmus Wines to turn our grapes into wine. Right from the first vintage, the quality of our wines has been recognised through awards including a Gold Medal for our first sparkling Blanc de Blancs (from chardonnay grapes harvested in 2016).
Pinot Noir is a demanding, often frustrating variety but has become one of the traditional components of good sparkling wine in England, and in good ripening conditions has also been successful in making rose and red wines. The grape grows in small, tight bunches and performs particularly well on well-drained limestone-based soils. Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins but have complexity and intensity of fruit seldom found in other red grapes
Chartham Vineyard at Burnt House Farm is located just below the North Downs Way, a footpath used for centuries by pilgrims on their inspirational journeys from Winchester to Canterbury.
Below the vineyard, the River Stour curves through the valley to the historic City of Canterbury three miles to the north east. There is a long recorded history of viticulture in the area. The Domesday Book mentions several vineyards in East Kent, including Chartham, and there is evidence of wine trading between the manors. The marriage of Henry II to Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152 created a vast kingdom which included the best vineyards of France, resulting in the gradual reduction of English wine production due to easy access to French wines. The onset of the Little Ice Age in the mid-13th century led to cooler summers, and the Black Death which followed in the mid-14th century led to a huge reduction in agricultural labour, yet another setback to viticulture in this country.
The vineyard faces south across the valley of the River Stour which drains the Weald of Kent. This aspect makes the most of all available sunshine providing a relatively warm and dry microclimate, whilst allowing frost drainage into the valley below. The vines are rooted in a dark-brown flinty loam on a massive chalk bedrock, formed over 100 million years ago from shells of sea creatures in a tropical sea. The chalk provides free drainage and the flints have an additional benefit of retaining daytime heat and maintaining the warmth of the soil. We underwent an intense period of planning and preparation involving site selection and soil preparation. Key decisions were made about the choice of grapes, rootstock and vineyard design. It was decided to grow vines of the same variety as those approved for Champagne and to choose various clones and rootstock combinations to suit the prevailing soil and prevailing climate conditions.
All of the wines are produced at Litmus Wines (based in Denbies Wine Estate, Surrey) by Matthieu Elzinga.