Kenton vineyard in Devon
It might have been a penchant for wines of its owner or a careful choice of a perfectly set vineyard that made the taste of wines produced at the Kenton vineyard so crisp, fresh, unique and simply fascinating. Even though the vineyard is quite young – it was established in 2003 – the owner Matthew Bernstein has done a great deal of work on it. Wines are perfectly lined up in plots, wrapped in nets protecting them from naughty rabbits and all are protected from wind by trees Mr. Bernstein planted around the vineyard.
Kenton vineyard nests on the slope and sandy soil and benefits from the mild climate of the Exe Estuary near Exeter.
During the Devon Wine Week 2010 the owner showed the secrets of his winery to the curious wine devotees – including myself – and disclosed all the challenges he met along his way to produce grapes suitable for a good wine.
He is a great talker, so I recommend you all who would like to know more about how wine is made in the UK to pay a visit to this lovely corner of Exe Estuary.
I have tasted two wines there. A spectacular white and for Britain a surprisingly soft red.
The white was made of 100% Backhus, a German grape variety suitable for less warm climate such as in the UK. Spring aromas of elderflower pleasantly overwhelm your nose while dipping it into the glass. Sauvignon Blanc-like taste assembling a flower bouquet together with slight apricot touch adding it a touch of sweetness. It is excellent to drink young.
The red was a 100% Pinot Noir – the ‘Burgundy king’ – which in this wine showed off its fruit power in the palate ranging from raspberry to a young cherry flavours. Good acidity gives it relatively good ageing potential so lets see how this 2009 vintage will do. It was definitely ready to drink now.
The estate is a lovely escape to the country, you can not only visit the vineyard, the winery but also spoil your eyes on the paintings, cards made by an acclaimed local artist Jo Talbot Bowen.
Some of them bring your mind far away from the daily stress as the azure colour she often uses overwhelms your senses with freshness and summer mood. Perhaps, these art works inspired the wine maker to create wines of the same character.
Really appreciated your comments on Kenton Vineyard. You were entirely vindicated the week after you posted the blog. Kenton Vineyard was awarded two ” GOLD” medals in the national UKVA wine competition ( for the rose 2009 and red 2007). All the 5 submitted wines got a medal and the two golds put the vineyard right up there with the best in the UK.