Lyme Bay: impressive still wines from this Devon-based producer

Lyme Bay, a winery based in Axeminster, Devon but sourcing grapes from top sites across England, are on a bit of a roll at the moment. They’ve changed their packaging, and the wines have taken a recent step up with the release of these 2020s.

Lyme Bay Winery Martins Lane Pinot Noir 2020 Essex, England
This is a serious Pinot Noir, and I sort of wish that I’d tasted it blind. There’s a touch of coffee, spice and woodsmoke on the nose supporting aromatic black cherries and blackberries. The palate has a lovely sleek cherry fruit core with a smooth, sweetly fruited mid-palate, and then finishes taut and focused, with some spicy framing. This is glossy, pure, alluring and fully ripe. Where would I place it, tasted blind? Probably Central Otago, as there’s freshness but also a dark fruit core. Perhaps the lively acid line on the finish gives its origin away, but I’m really impressed. 93/100

Lyme Bay Winery Chardonnay 2020 England
13% alcohol. Mainly from the Crouch Valley in Essex, and matured in a mix of stainless steel tanks, and old and new barrels. Ripe yellow fruits nose with a slightly smoky, mineral edge. The palate is supple and expressive, with some rounded, slightly honeyed citrus, pear and apple fruit, but also some nice brightness, with good acidity, and a steely, mineral finish. This covers a lot of the flavour spectrum: there’s some ripe fruit, but also some freshness and precision, and a touch of spicy oak. There’s also a slight saltiness on the finish. 91/100

Lyme Bay Winery Sauvignon Blanc Single Vineyard 2020 Essex, England
13.5% alcohol. From the Missing Gate winery in the Crouch Valley, and fermented and aged in old oak. Beautiful aromatics here: tomato leaf, spice, gooseberry, elderflower and grapefruit. The palate is lively and exotic with a nice, well-integrated green streak, good acidity and lovely pink grapefruit notes. Such a beautifully expressive, slightly wild Sauvignon with a lot of flavour and freshness. 93/100

Lyme Bay Winery Martins Lane Chardonnay 2020 Crouch Valley, Essex
Alluring nose of toast, minerals, spice, and pear and apple fruit. There’s lovely complexity here, showing a touch of nuttiness. The palate has some wood influence, with cedar, spice and vanilla supporting ripe citrus and white peach fruit, and also providing a bit of structure under the fruit. It has some richness, but also lively acidity. Youthful, but with the potential to be very fine when the oak begins to integrate better. 91/100

Lyme Bay Winery Bacchus 2020 England
12% alcohol. This brings together vineyards in Kent, Herefordshire and Essex. Stainless steel only. Lively aromatics with spring hedgerows and elderflower, as well as some lively citrus fruit, as well as a touch of cucumber. There’s a brightness, concentration and energy to this wine. It’s really crystalline and vivid – essence of Bacchus. 91/100

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