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Thursday, 19 August 2021

Kinsbrook Pinot Gris

An unusual Pinot Gris from England's Kinsbrook

Think of English still white wines and it tends to be obscure Germanic or native varieties that come to mind; anything that can tolerate England's cool, damp climate.

Pinot Gris, the grape of warm, dry Alsace is certainly not high up on the list and yet that is what the founders of Kinsbrook have planted in their vineyard near the South Downs between Brighton and London.

The full history of the winery is below, but suffice it to say that in 2014, the Beckett family established the 40-acre vineyard with largely self-taught Joseph Beckett the youngest vineyard owner in the country.

With no small amount of vision and ambition, they have made a really lovely wine that manages to be several things at once:

- technically impressive (really well made from good quality fruit)

- unusual, if not unique (great for bragging rights)

- lovely to drink (delicious!)

Kinsbrook Pinot Gris, 2020 (£20)

Aromatic with delicate herbs and white flowers; ripe pear and white stone fruit with gooseberry, cantaloupe melon and freshly-cut grass; honeysuckle, some sweet spices and a touch of minerality. Very adept and elegant, very well-made.

Drinks well on first opening, but rounds out with some aeration; will gain complexity with age.

Very Good.

Light enough for a summer sipper, match with young cheeses or seafood.

Stockist details here: Stockists — Kinsbrook Vineyard

From the Kinsbrook website:

Kinsbrook Vineyard was founded by the Beckett family in 2014. At the core of the company’s ethos is the importance of family.

Our range of still and sparkling wines are named ‘KIN’ because we honour interconnectedness, both with our family and our customers. After all, the best wine is the wine shared with those we love. Everything we do is in line with our true passion for our nation’s fine wine and food, our appreciation for our land and our roots and the celebration of all that it means to be Kin.

‘Kinsbrook Vineyard has been built ‘from the ground up’ by the third generation of The Becketts. We are a family-run Sussex Vineyard whose goal is to produce premium wines using innovation and meticulous attention to detail.

At the heart of each bottle is our devotion to the English countryside and our unwavering desire to seamlessly translate the fruit from the field into your glass.’

At 27 years old, Joseph Beckett is the youngest vineyard owner in the country. In 2014, after finishing University, Joseph and his family decided to invest in the English wine industry. His first négociant wine, created by award-winning winemaker Dermot Sugrue, was bottled and placed on lees in 2015 whilst Joseph created his ten year plan.

Almost totally self-taught, Joseph plunged himself into setting up his vineyards with the tools he had at hand. The first vineyard was planted in May 2017, with further sites planted in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

With qualifications from Plumpton College and his WSET Level 3 under his belt, he has an insatiable desire to keep learning.

Joseph visited Auckland in 2016 which allowed him to witness first-hand the immensity of the wine tourism on offer in New Zealand. Truly struck by its success and its scale, Joseph came to realise that there was huge unlocked potential in British wine tourism.

He resolved to dedicate his life not only to the production of premium wine, but to the creation of an all-encompassing, shared experience around it.

We have a total of 44,500 vines so far, across three sites.

  • The Orchard Site was the first vineyard to be planted in May 2017. In the 20th Century, the field was used to grow apples and pears to make English cider. The site is made up of 19,500 vines. 

  • The Pension Field was planted second, in 2018. This field is our smallest block with only 3,500 vines. It is solely Pinot Meunier.

  • ‘Picketty 1’ was planted the same year, with 12,500 vines.; a further planting of 9,000 vines took place at ‘Picketty 2’ in 2019.
The 40 acre site will continue to expand through the years as Kinsbrook grows in size. This vineyard is to become our main site devoted to local and national Wine Tourism. 

The three grapes traditionally used to make a cuvée (blended) sparkling wine are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. We have planted these three varieties, along with Bacchus, Pinot Gris and Précoce (early ripening) Pinot Noir.

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