The English wine scene is becoming cooler. And one of the cool kids is Westwell. Adrian Pike left the music scene for wine, and studied at Plumpton College. He then went to work for Davenport, a long-time organic pioneer in the UK.
In 2016 he bought Westwell Wine Estate, which has interesting terroir: it’s clay/loam with large lumps of flint, on a limestone base, and – importantly for the marginal UK climate – it’s on a south-facing slope. 13 acres are planted on this site on the North Downs in Kent.
First vintage under the new regime was 2017, and with 2018 they’ve pushed the boat out a bit further. The labels are now very cool, with art from Adrian’s wife. And experiments continue with skin contact and amphorae.
Viticulture is almost organic, but Adrian and his viticulturist Marcus Goodwin would quite like to keep their options open to deal with high disease pressure in difficult seasons.
This is an estate to watch.
Westwell Petulant Nature 2019 England
A play on Petillant Natural, this is disgorged (apparently, the wine gushed so much on opening that it just had to be). It’s powerful, pure and fresh with lovely citrus fruit and keen acidity. This has real precision. 90/100
Westwell Pelegrim NV England
Traditional method. There’s a creamy undercurrent to the bright citrus fruit, with some fine appley notes. Quite waxy and intense with lively acidity. Distincive. 89/100
Westwell Late Disgorged Special Cuvée 2014 England
Bright, lemony and intense with linear citrus fruit. Has some lemony focus with tart acidity. Tangy and intense. 90/100
Westwell Ortega Classic Ferment 2018 England
Lively with apple and pear fruit, and some lemons. Nice bright fruit and an appley finish. 88/100
Westwell Chardonnay 2018 England
Old oak used here. Subtle wax with pear and citrus fruit. Nice purity and acidity with good depth. 91/100
Westwell Pink 2018 England
A Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier co-ferment. This is made from juice that ran free after 24 h, while the rest was used to make a beer collaboration. Light, textured and sappy with some green hints. Very linear with nice acidity. 88/100
Westwell Ortega Amphora 2018 England
This finishes its fermentation on skins in a 500 litre amphora. It shows nuts and apples, honey and spice, and it’s mellow and complex on the palate. Beguiling stuff that really works. 92/100
Westwell Ortega Skin Contact 2018 England
Three weeks on skins. Textured and pretty with nice weight to the pear and apple fruit, with some herbs and a bit of apricot. Very stylish. 90/100
Westwell Field Blend 2018 England
A co-ferment of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Destemmed. Elegant and fine with sweet cherry and strawberry fruit, and a silky texture. There are some citrus notes, too. Shows real elegance and purity. 93/100
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com
UK agent: Uncharted Wines
See also: Blackbook, an urban winery in London