From Sixteen Ridges’ vineyards on the sunny slopes of Walls Hill, Ledbury’s latest “English Nouveau” has come to the market this week.
Simon Day, winemaker and Production Director for the Sixteen Ridges range, is one of a handful of second generation English wine makers in the country, carrying on in the footsteps of his father. With over 25 years’ experience making wine in England and abroad. Simon is known in the industry for his innovative approach to winemaking, and his commitment to ‘let the fruit do the talking’ ensuring minimal intervention in the winery.
The original idea for an English Nouveau came from a trade enquiry in 2019 which led to a small experimental batch being made for trade only sale.
As a result, Sixteen Ridges English Nouveau was created for Waitrose and sold out within 24 hours online in 2020. Simon in collaboration with new Sixteen Ridges Winemaker Joshua Ravell-Gough has increased production threefold this year to meet demand.
In France this style of wine e.g. Beaujolais Nouveau is produced using the grape variety Gamay, but Sixteen Ridges used our Pinot Noir Early which ripens some 2 to 3 weeks earlier than standard Pinot Noir.
In terms of production, the Nouveau is made using similar methods as used in France’s Beaujolais region. Sixteen Ridges want to highlight the delicious fresh fruitiness, and reduce the tannins. This is done using small tanks into which whole bunches of grapes are placed into CO2 and undergo an intracellular fermentation for a short period of time – a process called carbonic maceration. These fizzy grapes develop fruitiness and start to take on colour. Once they reach around 2% alcohol, the berry drops off the bunch, and releases the juice. The wine then continues to ferment in a more conventional manner with yeast. Then the grapes are pressed to yield a lovely fruity easy drinking light red wine.
If you want to try this most local of wines, the 2021 vintage is on sale from 18 November from Waitrose – waitrosecellar.com and from sixteenridges.co.uk.