Two of Britain’s best-known experts have praised a Shropshire vineyard’s award-winning wines – as hopes remain high that 2021 could produce another high-quality harvest.
Jancis Robinson and Oz Clarke both heaped praise on Shrewsbury-based Hencote’s wines after tasting a variety of the estate’s offerings.
It comes as Hencote general manager Mark Stevens says he is optimistic that this year’s harvest could produce wines of equal quality to the gold-medal winning reds which have earned the estate a place in English wine history.
Television presenter and wine expert Jancis Robinson said Hencote’s wines were ‘pure’ and made with a ‘light touch’ after sampling the 2018 Amphora Pinot Noir and the Mark I and Mark II red wines from 2018.
She described the Amphora – which won a gold medal at the 2020 International Wine Challenge (IWC) – as a ‘very good effort’.
Her tasting notes say the wine has ‘some light hint of the grainy texture of terracotta ageing but only in the background to the pure fruit’.
The wine was ‘like the other two Hencote 2018s a pure wine made with a light touch. Quite exciting to see this sort of thing emerging from English vineyards’.
Her opinions on the Mark I – which also won a gold at this year’s IWC to make Hencote the first UK vineyard to win gold for two different still red wines – were equally positive.
“The palate is fresh, fruity and the wine has clearly been made with a light hand on the tiller. There’s refreshing but not excessive acidity and no winemaking tricks that I can discern.”
The Mark II – which succeeded the Mark I that is no longer on sale – is ‘delicate with the merest hint of rhubarb sourness on the end, but a good wine’.
Meanwhile fellow TV presenter Oz Clarke also praised Hencote in a video filmed for the Forever Thirsty website, describing the Mark I as a ‘great glass of wine’ and also praising the vineyard’s Evolution 2018 sparkling wine which he said had left him ‘absolutely delighted’.
Hencote says it is hopeful this year’s harvest will emulate the success of the 2018 vintages, with the weather conditions so far ideal for an excellent year.
Mark Stevens said: “We have just passed the crucial flowering period and the warm, dry and calm weather has been absolutely perfect for ensuring a very special harvest from our vines later in the year.
“I don’t want to tempt fate, but this year could match the quality of our 2018 harvest, which would be the best possible news for everyone connected with Hencote.
“I’m hopeful that we will be able to produce some Amphora wines again – something we didn’t quite feel the conditions of 2020 and 2019 allowed for – and build on the remarkable success we enjoyed with our 2018 wines.”