Renishaw Hall Madeleine Angevine (n.v.)
I mentioned on another article page that I had been the very fortunate recipient of a bottle of wine from Renishaw Hall. Renishaw Hall is the beautiful Derbyshire estate that serves as home to the Sitwell family and to a very Northerly vineyard, which in the grand scheme of things is a fairly sprightly forty years young, but in the British scheme of things is the first planting after Noah got back out the Ark. I’m loathe to comment negatively on an English wine and so for the last few days I have sat on my opinions, but honesty has got the better of me, so here goes.
Kieron Atkinson, who runs the vineyard and is younger than the vines he works with, has created a wine that flatters to deceive. Initially, the wine offers a beautiful nose not a million miles away from an Albarino – peaches and white blossoms. The colour and body give little away, except perhaps the relationship between Madeleine Angevine and riesling; I was slightly concerned by the clarity and the amount of minute bubbles appearing against the glass, but, benefit of the doubt, this may well have been some residual detergent on the glasses. In a curious parallel, the bottle’s label, an illustration of sculptures from the grounds of Renishaw, is unremarkable and slightly dusty, doing very little to help promote the product to anyone who doesn’t wear a Barbour jacket, a Range Rover and a National Trust membership. Perhaps that’s a good strategy because this wine definitely has a palate to suit the unexcited and boy, after that nose, was this wine remarkably underwhelming. The feel and taste was what I can only imagine it would be like to stick out your tongue and have someone slap it with a processed cheese slice. (For the sake of research and an honest review, I did consider trying this. For the sake of me, and the thought of what would happen if I approached someone to do the slapping of the cheese, I haven’t done it – but let me put it out there as an idea…)
I’m saddened. I really wanted to like this, all the more so because of how much I like the people who gave it to me. An hour later, I tried again, when it had been chilled right down, but this made no difference and I hastily donated my glass to my friend. Not in a bad way – and for what it’s worth, he and my husband both loved it and polished it off with considerable enthusiasm, although they had spent all day touring the excellent Vale of Belvoir brewery. Make of that what you will. If you want to go for an English wine, please try Nyetimber before this, and before you pass overall judgment. I hope that the new plantings of rondo at Renishaw fare better; going for red suggests a level of ambition that this white doesn’t even hint at, so it will be interesting to see how the vineyard develops.