Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Dedham Vale Vineyard

Essex is an area of England we have not visited so when our daughter gave Hubby a vineyard trip for his retirement gift Dedham Vale Vineyard was a perfect choice ...  in North Essex this English vineyard nestles in the Stour Valley, Constable Country, on the Essex Way.

Driving down the high hedged roads, which seemed to get narrower and narrower, we discovered the vineyard in its beautiful setting; a pool, huge weeping willows and of course vines.

Dedham Vale is set in 40 acres and has been producing wine for over 25 years, their Tasting Barn serving tea and coffee was very welcome after our 140 plus mile journey. A fabulous area for hosting wine tasting, lunches, private functions it had the added bonus of opening out onto a large grassy area and the pool.
Weeping willow by the pool
Dedham Vale's beautiful setting
Ben, the owner, started the tour with a bit of history about how it became a vineyard, it is so interesting to learn how ideas grow and develop. The visit is described as a Grand Tour and it really was. A glorious sunny day we, a group of around 26, set off across the grass to walk the vines.

Dedham grow mainly Germanic grapes, some on this site and more recently other fields in local areas, something they are expanding. Dunklefelder, with its red juice and skin, is the only true red grape grown here and Dornfelder is used to produce the pink colour in their Sparkling Rosé. They grow Bacchus, Pheonix, Rhondo, Reichensteiner and Chardonnay are also grown here, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are grown in their other fields for producing their English Sparkling Wine.

Where it all begins 
Vines stretching across the vineyard
Perfect view on a summer's day 
After walking amongst the vines Ben took us into the oldest building on the vineyard - where the magic happens. The age of the barn noticeable from the herringbone brickwork outside .... inside was very different with shiny stainless steel wine making equipment including a cylindrical press and a spikey corking machine.
Ancient brickwork
Pressing machine - a bag inflates inside to press the grapes against
the walls which have tiny slits that allows the juice to flow out
Ben explaining how the process works 
A few of the stainless steel vats
It's a corker !!
After our superb tour of both vineyard and the winemaking barn we returned to the Tasting Room which had been laid ready for lunch. Before enjoying our tasty ploughman's we enjoyed tasting Dedham Vale wines, five in all, two white, a rose, their red and finally their Brut Sparkling.

Dedham Vale wines - photos are from their website

Colchester Oyster 2016 - 12%
A sparkly clear white with a hint of green hue this Reichensteiner wine had a slight nose of fruit. An off dry wine with a flavour of apple and slight citrus.

Bacchus 2016 - 12%
Ben recommended this with food, especially fish and seafood; lemon and elderflower with a hint of minerality this had a slightly longer finish.

Rosé 2017 - 12% 
A lovely salmon colour this dry rosé was light, fruity with good acidity

Reserve 2016 - 11.5%
Debham Vale's only red this was lighter in body which as expected at 11.5%. A blend of Pinot Noir, Dornfelder, Dunklefelder and Rhonda with light tannin from being in French oak this was a deep red in the glass, fruity in flavour with a medium length finish.

Sparkling Brut 2015 - 12%
Produced using the Traditional Method this sparkling wine had fine bubbles, a citrusy flavour with a touch of yeastiness. My favourite wine of our tasting.

A glass of Bacchus 
Thank you Dedham Vale for a very informative tour and tasting of your superb wines in a super setting, we had a lovely afternoon. Thank you too to our daughter, it was a great gift we both enjoyed.
Summer sun in the vines 


  1. Perfect weather for your tour.
    Whilst I remember .... Have you heard about mount St Bernard Abbey and the new local Trappist brewery there?

  2. I know the Abbey very well but hadn't heard about the brewery - another trip to fill the retirees diary, thanks Julie


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