Life cannot get much better when Nicola Boarer, owner of English Wine Tasting Tours and I were recently sitting in the peacock blue library with a roaring log fire at the Palladian country house, Squerryes Court, tasting Henry Warde’s Squerryes English Sparkling Wine. It is a tough one!

Henry is eighth generation custodian of the family’s 2,500 acre estate and park. They have been at the house since 1731. So they are in for the long haul and Henry is a man who has a mission. A hundred year vision of creating and establishing a fine vineyard for his children and their heirs. We are into year ten, as the first vines were planted in 2006 and we tasted three vintages of Squerryes traditional method sparkling wine, made in the same way as Champagne.

The 2013 is still a bit nervous and needs a couple more months to settle down and feel comfy. That will come, we will just have to be patient and wait until end of March, beginning of April this year. It is delicious.

We were treated to the Champagne and Sparkling World Championships award winning 2011 vintage with it’s more intense golden colour, smelling of gently cooked apples with a hint of butter and a slight floral brush of quince and violets. This wine has been gaining complexity and graduated flavours for at least three and a half years while resting in the bottle before it is sold.

The third sparkler tasted was the 2010, what an aristocratic wine, pure finesse and soft bubbles, fine mouse as a result of spending a whopping 62 months on the lees, maturing in the bottle. It looks paler than the 2011 but on the nose Nicola and I found freshly sliced white peaches, bruised apples and blanched almonds with a hint of lemon zest. One quaff and I had cream, hints of unsalted Normandy beaten butter and cooking apples that had been mixed with freshly whipped egg whites. There was soft refreshing acidity and what a wine to be drunk on an early May afternoon with young vivid green leaves fresh on the trees.

English Wine Tasting Tours were given a sneaky preview of the new Squerryes wine shop and tasting rooms. The building is shared with the local niche market heritage Westerham Brewery and no expense has been spared with fitting out and furnishings. Plush linen demi lune banquette seating, ‘antique’ crackle glazed bracket mirror show case units, limed oak panelled walls and high specification ceramic tiled floors. In the main show room there are Zebra veneered multi-tiered serpentine displays.

Soon, early spring you will be able taste Squerryes Vintage Reserve in the sumptuous private tasting room or out on the terrace accompanied by ripe local crafted Kentish cheeses and savoury sweet spicy charcouterie and meat chargers.

We finished on a high with the Squerryes Rose which was all redcurrants and strawberries, super with cheese scones and afternoon tea.

English Wine Tasting Tours look forward to welcoming our guests at London Bridge with our first tour of the 2017 season on 27th may and whisking them off in our luxury coach on our Kent Tour.

Blog by Martin Phillips