A Very English Evening

Around about the time that we first were locked down, I was fortunate enough to receive a supply of wines from East Devon, from Dalwood Vineyard and Mike Huskins. Included were a few bottles of the 2016 Brut, Seyval Blanc/Pinot Noir Sparkling Wine, which picked up a Silver Medal at the 2019 IEWA, and a Bronze at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards.

Before I restarted my Blog Posts, I wrote a review of the first bottle I drank not long after, and last night we popped the cork on another, no special reason, just fancied a bit of fizz, and I knew what to expect, perfection. rather than repeat myself with a further review, I thought I would share what I wrote at the time of the first bottle, and my opinions haven’t changed, aside from the fact that I wish I had ordered more!

“Let me start by stating that fizz, be it Champagne, Traditional Method, Cava, Prosecco, or any other bubbles, rarely rocks my boat, and aside from celebrations, would not be a regular in my glass. Having said that, I had heard really good things about Mike Huskin’s Dalwood Vineyard Brut 2016, and with a few bottle arriving last week, it seemed a good time to see if I could be convinced that “fizz” isn’t just for weddings and Formula One Wins!

Dalwood’s Brut in 2016 was a blend between Seyval Blanc (70%) and Pinot Noir (30%), and once the cork was gently removed, and a glass poured, the immediacy on the nose was of ripe green apples, straight away, which I can already associate with Seyval from my sampling of the still wine from Dalwood with Seyval as the base of the blend earlier this week.

The colour was light gold, and the stream of bubbles looked impressive. A stronger sniff and the notes of the bakery were there, indicating the autolysis. I subsequently learnt that the wine spent 30 months in second fermentation in the bottle this way, before a very low amount of dosage, 4g in the 2016, as I was ready to savour the full flavours.

A crisp cool explosion onto the palate, with good acidity, but totally balanced by the Pinot, as Seyval at its peak is high on the acidic front, leaving enough to get the mouth watering, but no hint of burn. Those green apples, along with pear, more of the candied type than from the tree, and a yeasty bread/biscuit note, emanating from the time spent on second fermentation were to the fore.

Absolute dryness gave a wonderful texture to the wine, without puckering at all, and the finish remained fresh, leaving those apples lingering in the mouth long after the swallow. I read how someone had described the lingering flavours as that of Apple Crumble, and while the thought didn’t hit me at the time, this is a very apt description.

While I may not have been totally converted to making “fizz” an everyday wine in my house, this particular version has certainly raised the thought that it will appear more likely. An excellent English Sparkler, well worth seeking out if you are ever down in East Devon, and one that compares very favorably with higher priced offerings from the Continent.”