Like other UK vineyards, Bickleigh-based Yearlstone Vineyards is seeing a harvest in 2011 that is promising a smaller tonnage but potentially the “ripest crop of grapes in Devon for a decade”, says owner Roger White.
He says: “The first pressings at Yearlstone were the red grape Rondo, in at a natural alcohol ripeness of close to 12.5% with soft acidity and a mouthful of flavour. Next in were the whites, Madeleine Angevine, both at optimum levels of ripeness and acidity (75OE and 8 Acidity).
“Yields are low, perhaps half or less of the ‘09 and ‘10 levels, but as result of the early start with the
hot Spring and the light load on the vine, the theme of high ripeness/flavour, balanced with decent acidities, is already emerging as the theme of 2011.”
White considers there can be no doubt that “this has been a difficult year, and some vineyards have lost out. Both Sharpham and Manstree report good crops but others are considerably down on production levels. Here at Yearlstone, we believe it be a red wine year. Stocks of sparkling are high, and there is very little Pinot Noir and Seyval Blanc, so we will make sub-1000 litres of fizz this year. But with the ripeness on the red varieties we are planning to double red wine production,” he says, adding that the vineyard is set to increase its quadruple-silver medal winning rose production to closer to 4000 litres.
The vineyard will be showing at the Exmoor Food Festival courtesy of Le Bistro’s owner and chef Paul Rhodes.
White says: “We are also being visited by top German wine magazine Vinum on Monday October 3 – the busiest harvest day of the season of course!”