An English Vineyard tour and tasting at ‘The Nest‘ - Gusbourne
Gusbourne has been producing many of the finest English wines for some time and describe themselves as the ‘Home of Enlightened Traditionalists’ which could mean many things.
With another gloriously sunny day forecast we thought it was about time we paid them a visit and took them up on an offer for a tour around the vineyard and winery.
We decided a ‘full day out’ was in order so we booked a table at the nearby Oxney Ferry pub just down the road from the vineyard and winery. This was recommend by Gusbourne as a good ‘pre vineyard tour lunch‘.
The Oxney Ferry pub was a beautiful old building that oozed charm and quality. Easy to find and park at, we wandered in to be greeted by a young smiling waitress who was eager to please. We explained that we were going to the nearby Gusbourne Vineyard for a tour and that a lunch was needed to set us up for the day. The menu was extensive and one could tell the focus was on local produce with a touch of class. They offered a wide range of dishes which included hearty traditional ‘English pub lunches’ to the lighter robust salads.
After a quick coffee to wake us up from the drive but not wishing to be weighed down with food for the coming tour, my fiancée and I both choose the goats cheese salad for our mains which came in a healthy portion size. It was crisp, fresh, and delicious. The ‘door stop’ bread which accompanied the salad was a welcome addition to balance the meal.
We were running slightly behind, so with some haste we finished our meal, which was a shame as it would have been nice to take in the pub a little longer although this was not the priority for the day, we were out for a wine tasting!
Gusbourne vineyard Is easy to find, thanks to it being well sign posted and is perhaps one of the few vineyards which isn’t down miles of country roads. Parking was straight forward and we headed to the main building where we were greeted and welcomed by Cheryl who was also going to be our guide for the day.
Whilst the rest of the tour party arrived we had a quick chance to look around the new visitors building which is going to be our base for the wine tasting.
Thankfully all members of the tour were on time and so we set off! With 10 people in our group it was booked up and I’m pleased to say this is probably just the right number of people.
Cheryl took us through to the vineyard and discussed the process of planting the vines and where the first plantings were. This vineyard, like many English vineyards, is growing fast and so the vines are of all different ages.
The walk through the vineyard was a beautiful stroll and, as with so many vineyards, it’s set in idyllic scenery, something that England does so well.
Budburst had occurred and so the grapes were starting to show. In a few of the fields the grape vines are flanked by a row of roses to indicate the end of the vines and also, as we learnt, for two important reasons.
- The colour of the roses indicates the colour of the wine the grape will produce – which we thought was an especially nice touch.
- More practically the last vines in a row generally get destroyed by the machine when the grapes are cultivated. By planting a row of Roses at the end of the vines it meant the vines stayed in tack and therefore saved the final row of vines and grapes being discarded.
We wondered back towards the new main building for our tasting. Beautifully constructed, the smart design sits well in the open landscape and serves as a reminder that the English wine industry is still in its early stages and so a new modern building fits the landscape well.
We sat down at a long wooden table where shiny glasses and information ‘English wine cards’ had been laid out ready for our arrival. The tasting room was bathed in sunshine thanks to large windows and a slick modern design.
On our table there were convenient flyers with images of each wine that we were about to try, including some information and tasting notes.
To start we had the Gusbourne Brut reserve which is a fine English sparkling wine. Elegant, crisp with acidity and balanced perfectly by sharp citrus fruits.
This was followed by the Sparkling Rose, which considering the brilliant sunshine, went down very well – an excellent summer drink.
We moved onto Gusbourne’s white wine the ‘ Guinevere’, wonderfully fresh and light, it pairs perfectly with sea fish and other salty dishes.
This was followed by their red wine the Pinot Noir, a classic English red wine, light in body with a soft smooth finish.
They even had a new desert wine too which is under testing!
For detailed tasting notes of the wines mentioned above see the their English wine product pages.
We’re pleased to say there was no rush to drink each wine and a top up was also offered. Each wine was given an appropriate amount of time allowing questions to be asked and answered.
The overall impression of Gusbourne is one of class and confidence that they’re here to stay, firmly rooted in the future of English wine.
So what does ‘Home of Enlightened Traditionalists’ mean? We have deduced from our visit that Gusbourne are keen to be represented as at the fore front of English wine culture, striving for perfection whilst crafting a delicate pairing of ‘class and forward thinking’.
We look forward to next year’s wines!
To find out more and for detailed tasting notes on Gusbourne's wines see the Gusbourne English wine pages.
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