After 5 years in the planning, Punchbowl Valley Vineyard has produced it's first harvest (2015) and both Paul (Redden) and Andrew (Sacha), partners in this project are really excited at the prospect of producing 2 wines that truly reflect the characteristics of the Vineyard's, Surrey Hills, setting.
2015 was a good year for the Vineyard in that the weather was kind throughout bud burst and fruit set and despite the indifferent temperatures during ripening in August and September it was felt that the fruit produced was well balanced in sugars and acidity.
It was decided before harvest to target a Rose from the Pinot Noir and to blend the Ortega, Seyval Blanc, Chardonnay and the Sauvignon Blanc into what is now known as the Punchbowl Blanc.
Both wines have been made at the Denbies Wine Estate, under the tutor ledge of one of the UK's promising up and coming young winemakers, Andy Kershaw. Andy is currently working at Denbies, having previously made wine across the Southern Hemisphere and in Europe. Namely, Dragonridge Wines, Swartland, South Africa (2009-10, 2015, 2016) including his own label and the estate range, Delegats, Marlborough, New Zealand (2011), Tenuta di Arceno, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy (2011), Brightwell Estate, England (2012), Willow Bridge Estate, Western Australia (2013).
Whilst not claiming that Punchbowl's wines are 'natural wines', every effort has been taken to keep interventions to an absolute minimum. Andy Kershaw is a keen advocate of natural wine making.
The Punchbowl Blanc has been barrel fermented and neither wines have been filtered. It is felt that the wines have lost none of the characteristics that are captured from the Vineyard's diverse Surrey Hills setting.
The following is an extract from the tasting notes, compiled by Angela Muir, Master of Wine
Pinot Noir Rose 2015: Absolutely the right gentle smoked salmon colour, if slightly hazy, faint but refreshing spritz on the tongue, the very lightest scent of wild strawberry/redcurrant and a bright, crisp, clean, faintly anise flavour with the red fruits. Very appealing at only 11% alcohol.
Punchbowl Blanc 2015: Quite pale greenish straw colour (very much as it should be); already quite open aroma of fresh asparagus, lemon juice, chamomile flowers mainly thanks to the Sauvignon Blanc and the Seyval Blanc which are dominating the Chardonnay and Ortega at present; considering that this too has only 11% alcohol, surprisingly characterful and balanced with an appetising zing of acidity underpinning the herbal flavours.