About this WINE
Nestled in the sunny and sheltered Waveney Valley in Norfolk, Flint Vineyard is named after the stony soil on which it is planted. Its owners, husband and wife Ben and Hannah Witchell, have always had a passion for wine. In 2007 they decided to pursue this passion by leaving their jobs behind and traveling the winemaking world. On their return, Ben gained a first-class degree in Oenology and Viticulture at Plumpton College and spent three years in Beaujolais as an assistant winemaker.
Since then, they have returned to their Norfolk roots making their own wine from some of the finest sites in England. South Norfolk is one of the driest and sunniest regions, with free-draining gravel and flint soil. It is here, having studied and practiced the meticulous art of winemaking, that Ben has learnt to throw out the rule book. His wines are created in small lots blending tradition with innovation and creativity.
The self-proclaimed sunniest, driest county in England, Norfolk, benefits from being on the far eastern edge of the British Isles, protected from much of the damp Atlantic weather. As a result, both grapes and grain ripen happily here.Although less well known for its wine than more southerly counties like Sussex and Kent, Norfolk is home to a handful of wineries producing excellent sparkling and still wines. Flint Vineyard produces both, with plantings of international grapes such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and Bacchus, a variety similar to Sauvignon Blanc that thrives in damper, cooler climates. There are also an increasing number of award-winning distilleries on the flat lowlands of Norfolk, making gin, whisky and rum.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.