On Monday 17th October (yes, Sweeties, a school night!), some colleagues and I made an after-work trip to Stanlake Park Wine Estate for a tour and some wine tasting. It doesn’t really need saying that visiting in late October (and in the evening) is not the optimum time to be visiting something that is at its best in the summer months, but to be honest this didn’t hugely affect our visit; the vines just weren’t ripe with fat juicy grapes and we were only outside a short while.
So first, a little bit about Stanlake Park Wine Estate.
The first vines were originally planted back in 1979, and now Stanlake Park is home to 25,000 of them making Stanlake Park a medium sized regional seller, and one of the leading producers of English wine. They grow a variety of grapes, such as the Gamay, Ortega, Wurzer and the classic champagne varieties – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Before arriving at Stanlake Park Wine Estate, I figured that the wine tasting part of the tour would be all about learning to swish it in the glass, rolling it around your tongue to get a taste for all the different nodes we need to be able to pick up on, before spitting it out and moving on to the next wine. Wrong! Upon arrival this was very quickly quashed with our tour guide, Ruth highlighting how their tours weren’t pretentious like that and we were going to be able to properly try and enjoy a selection of wines. During the tour we were given the opportunity to try six different wines as we moved around the complex, each with an explanation of the methods and production process used to make them. These were: Heritage Brew; Regatta; English Rosé; Kings Fume (oak smoked); Hinton Grove; and finishing with a glass of their Reserve wine. I left with three bottles of the Kings Fume for my parents, in-laws and friends my husband and I are having dinner with soon as it was delicious, and a good wine for Christmas apparently!
I have been keen to visit some vineyards/wine estates for ages and visiting Stanlake Park has really ignited an interest in learning more about wine. It’s obvious that wine isn’t produced overnight, but what I found the most interesting was all the different methods each of the wines go through to develop their flavour. I’ve got to be honest, for the past year or two I have started to drink white wine as a spritzer with lemonade as while I like to have a drink, I don’t like to drink –does that make sense? This is probably why I am sat here writing this the following day still with the remnants of a wine hangover, ha! That all being said however, I would still like to explore more vineyards (in the UK) and increase my understanding of wine production, and how and why some wines go better with some foods more than others, and how you can tell its country of source and so on. White wine spritzers aside, more than anything it just means that when in the future I am in a restaurant and the wine menu is handed over for us to select something with our meal, I don’t just chose the house white or a simple Sauvignon Blanc etc.
Overall I would thoroughly recommend having a tour of Stanlake Park Wine Estate, or any vineyard if you get the opportunity.
Have any of you ever been to a vineyard/wine estate?
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