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May  15th - Chris Horridge of Altus Wines - English Wines


We have a new home. The Moose Centre. But a few yards from St Michael’s Church hall and which allows us mid-week meetings which many of our members prefer.  


It worked well, save for the fact that we must bring and take away all the glasses etc. Oh well we shall survive.

For our first meeting there we were pleased to welcome Chris Horridge, proprietor of Altus Wines to present a range of English wines.  Chris has a long and distinguished career in the wine business as an experienced buyer, marketeer, presenter, and international wine judge.

English wines are relatively new, are not immodestly priced and are characterised (surprise, surprise) by the grape types that tolerate cool wet climates – like France’s northern most grape region, Champagne.  


Several were fizzes. All were rather good, though not perhaps everyday drinkers. Like Champagne, England has few large growing estates and all makers garner their grapes from a variety of growers, and thus terroirs.

Wines tasted were:

1.       Lyme Bay (Dorset) sparkling rose, NV, a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (£32).  A little young on the palate but well liked.

2.       Hambledon Vineyard (Sussex) Classic Cuvee, NV (£33). Dry, crisp and most Champagne-like.

3.       Lyme bay Classic Cuvee, Vinatge, 2017. (£32). Made of the same trio of grapes as most Champagnes (Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier). It lacked the toasty zing of its French cousin.

4.       Chapel Down (Kent) Flint white, 2022. (£16). A blend of Chardonnay and Bacchus grapes. Very dry on the palate – a food wine.

5.      Stopham Vineyard (Sussex) Flint White, 2022. (£16).  Dry with pear and primrose on the nose and pink grapefruit, melon and sweet fennel on the palate. A simple and pleasant wine.

6.       Lyme Bay Chardonnay, 2021, (£25). An elegant, dry, lightly oaked wine. Good with food but it struggles, at that price, to compete with the numerous good varietal Chardonnays from around the world.

7.       Bolney (Sussex)  Dark harvest, 2021 (£16). Made from Rondo grapes (me neither, but similar to Mourvèdre). Notes of red and black fruits, cherries and a hint of oak and a little spice.  A pleasant food wine.

8.       Lyme bay Pinot Noir, 2021, (£30). This was an excellent wine to complete the flight.

A lightly coloured PN with scents of red fruits - cherry, raspberry, and red currant with just a hint of mulberry (so they say). A touch of savoury spice and smoke finish off the rounded palate, with a lingering finish. This was a lovely wine. Good with red meats or on its own.


We are indebted to Chris for his selection and his erudite presentation.  Would we shell out those prices, just to “fly the flag”?

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