Denbies Wine Estate, Surrey Gold
It has been a while since I had my last English wine; so far my exploration of local produce has had mixed results, but then I have never systematically looked into English wine. Denbies is an estate that is hard to overlook though, seeing as they are the largest largest single estate vineyard in the UK. Located near Dorking in Surrey, the winery makes a lot of the fact that the North Downs have the same soil-chalk structure as the Champagne. The Surrey Gold, however, that we opened yesterday, is not a sparkling, but rather a "deliciously fragrant off dry wine [that] is rich in fruit and floral aromas with subtle hints of spice and a crisp finish", as the label informs us. It also tells us that the wine is a blend of Müller-Thurgau, Bacchus and Ortega; what it does not mention is the vintage.
While the colour, a very pale, straw-yellow, is not very noticeable, the bouquet certainly is: the Surrey Gold hits you with a volley of exotic fruit flavours, including passion fruit, and lots of gooseberry. As Steve rightly pointed out, there is also some cat piss in the nose (more like cat piss soaked carpet) - don't be alarmed though, most likely you will not even notice this as only two members of our eight strong tasting team picked up those delicious notes hiding behind the floral notes that were mentioned on the label. The label is also right about the crisp finish, but somehow forgot to mention that it is not very long.
Fruit explosion bouquet, lots of fruit on the tongue first (add grapefruit), but then a little underwhelming, despite a little crisp, almost (too?) sharp lemony acidity. This makes for a somewhat uneven balance in a wine that could have had a little more structure and depth. Despite these criticism the Surrey Gold proved fairly popular at yesterdays tasting, perhaps because of not being overly complex. I would have wished for a little more depth to balance the intense fruit, but if you want a light, off-dry and uncomplicated fruit explosion there is a good chance you will enjoy this one here.