As I had a 160 mile trip planned to give a masterclass at the Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival it made perfect sense that I take just a small detour to visit one of our award winning sparkling wine houses, Poulton Hill Estate, who are located just 20 or so miles from the famous Gloucestershire town. Not only is their location one of those dreamy countryside village settings, which are plentiful in the Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, they are turning out some very fine wines despite being youthful in age having been founded in 2010.
A very calming atmosphere welcomed me as I drove through the impressive gates to the entrance of Poulton Hill Estate that is not only a vineyard and cellar door, but also a very high standard converted Cotswold stone barn accommodation where you can also enjoy breakfast – A most idealistic location to go on to explore the regional delights and of course you have the Poulton Hill vineyard and tasting rooms more or less on your door step.
Tiléri Charles-Jones (winemaker and Managing Director) along with Natalie Murphy (Assistant Manager) were there to meet me and share the Poulton Hill love via a tour and tasting. It is a pretty neat and tidy winery (production of wine is carried out at local winery currently), a new tasting room with an already array of industry awards on the walls to include a Silver and Highly Commended from the 2017 World’s Finest Glass of Bubbly Awards and a more or less single stretch of land containing neat row of vine varieties. As Tiléri took me for a walk amongst the vines it was clear that each were close to her heart, each row imprinted in her mind, a near ability to communicate with the vines of which I noted a few times as she removed one or two non required leaves and shoots. I’m sure that despite how magical it may appear, there is no scientific evidence to show that us humans can help plants grow by talking or singing to them or giving them names etc, though it is stated that it is a ‘plausible theory that plants do respond positively to exposure to sounds‘ so maybe Tiléri’s approach can help to improve the performance of the vines… It’s a care and passion, a desire for perfection over any fictional mind practises – Tiléri knows her vines and how they need to be treated in order to perform and deliver the grapes that already boast creditable industry awards.
Now on to the wines of Poulton Hill and there is a nice selection to choose from. You’ve sparkling Brut and rosé along with still red, rosé and white along with a Sloe de Vie and a Cotswold Brandy. For me, the real gem is their rosés and especially the sparkling rosé 2013 which bursts red berry fruity flavours in the palate and is most certainly a wine searching for a fine gastronomic dish to pair with it – Poulton Hill Sparkling Rosé 2013: “Red berries, Summer berry fruits, strawberry cream tart and more jump out on you within the aromas. The flavours are memorable with a dry and crisp expression of red berry fruits, Ribena, pastry and more.” Christopher Walkey