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Lyme Bay unveils Pinot Noir with 14.7% abv potential

Published:  20 October, 2020

Lyme Bay Winery (LBW) has reported a batch of Pinot Noir with potential alcohol levels of 14.7% - a record for the UK it claimed.

The Devon-based winery said the grapes, picked from vineyards in the Crouch Valley in Essex, had “exceptional levels of ripeness”.

In the UK, for grapes to achieve this level of ripeness was “unheard of”, said MD James Lambert. 

“It makes us even more excited about the Pinot Noir that we can create from this year’s harvest. The natural ripeness and physiological development of these Pinot Noir grapes means that we can really go to town on the extraction of flavours and colour to make truly singular wines.”     

LBW has been working “for years” with Duncan McNeill and the vineyards in Crouch Valley in order to achieve this and be able to “make the very best red wines”, he added.

“For us it’s all about a partnership that benefits both sides. We have been very lucky this year but not every year will be like this. That’s why we work with the growers on a long-term basis, and it is paying off.”

Vine grower McNeill added: “Crouch Valley is an astounding area and we have a great partnership with Lyme Bay Winery which is enabling us to reach our full potential. James encouraged me a few years ago to aim for the best and that’s what we are achieving together. This ripeness signals the crossing of a threshold, and I believe that Lyme Bay are going to make world-class still wines from these grapes.” 

The first Pinot Noir will likely be released at the end of 2021. The winery is creating two tiers, with the second tier being more premium and having a limited release in 2022.

At the end of last month, LBW announced it was gearing up to re-enter the UK red wine market with the aim of becoming one of the largest producers in the country.