I was driving home the other day and suddenly saw a sign pointing to a vineyard. This was news to me- I had no idea grapes even grew in North Dorset. Curiosity got the better of me and I turned the car round.
One of my list items for January Journeys is to “find something new or interesting within 15 miles of my house”. I wasn’t expecting a vineyard though and the day I found it was just as they were opening to the public. Langham Wine Estate is just a few miles from Blandford Forum down a narrow lane. It specialises in producing sparkling wine. I was unaware but the chalk soil in this south facing vineyard was simlar to the Champagne region in France and ideally suited to the sparkling varieties of grape.
I opted for a self guided tour which included three tastings afterwards. There is also a guide tour option around the vineyard but I headed out across the fields and past the rows of grapes growing in rows. Initially a small scale venture the wine estate now has thirty hectares of vines growing. The sparkling varieties grow here so there are sections of pinot meunier, pinot noir and chardonnay. There were fences to keep grape loving deer out too.
Suddenly it poured with rain, right at the point of no return so I ran back to the winery where my three samples of wine were waiting. A lovely rosè wine made from 45% chardonnay, 15% pinot meunier and 40% pinot noir was superb but for me the classic cuvee won the day with its crispness. I have a bottle waiting for a special occasion to enjoy. These are fabulous wines at the Langham Wine estate and I was delighted to find the soil produces such quality wines within a few miles of my home.