Chapel Down Vineyard Tour and Tasting

We are huge fans of English wine here at Honest Grapes, so when we were invited to Chapel Down in Kent for a tour and tasting we jumped at the offer! Chapel Down produces a world-class range of sparkling and still wines, together with the award-winning range of Curious beers & cider. Their sparkling wines are created using the Traditional Method, the same as Champagne, from fruit sourced from the South-East of England.

About Chapel Down Established in 2001 Chapel Down has gone from strength to strength. They are the offical supplier to 10 Downing Street and can be found on the wine lists of top restaurants throughout the country and abroad. Chapel Down is located in the beautiful Kent countryside, close to the picturesque market town of Tenterden, and is open to visitors throughout the year. Set amongst 22 acres of vineyards, recognised as an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty', the Chapel Down winery has excellent facilities for visitors including a high quality restaurant, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch.

Grape Varieties
Chardonnay: Grown largely for sparkling wines, plantings are increasing. Their main Chardonnay vineyard is Kit's Coty on the North Downs of Kent which produces fruit with excellent acidity and minerality and generous texture.
Pinot Noir: The classic grape variety of Champagne and Burgundy, Pinot Noir is also increasingly important for English sparkling wines. The variety thrives in cool climates & produces delicate thin-skinned grapes with low tannins & an abundance of red fruit.
Bacchus: England’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc. Despite having it origins in Germany, Bacchus has very much established a home for itself in English wine. Bacchus was created by crossing a Silvaner x Riesling cross with Müller-Thurgau. Bacchus is a very aromatic grape. In its youth it's all about the fresh fruit and herbal flavours - peach, apple blossom, elderflower, gooseberry and meadow herbs. In very warm vintages more tropical flavours emerge, much like Sauvignon Blanc.

The tour
Our tour started with a walk around the Bacchus and Chardonnay vines before moving onto the winery where we could view the huge tanks and machinery that were brought in to deal with the 2018 bumper crop! James, our guide, was able to talk us through the history, the grapes, the vineyards and the winemaking process.
The tasting We were very fortunate to try an epic list of fourteen wines!
Chapel Down Bacchus 2018
Ripe tropical fruit on nose with sharp elderflower and stone fruits on the palate. Great as an apperitif or with light dishes.
Chapel Down Tenterden Estate Bacchus 2018 (30yr+ vines) 
Sauvignon Blanc in style, more tropical fruit with a saline complexity with a very balanced great finish.

Kit's Coty Bacchus 2017
Wild fermented, 2017 was a frost year. Aromatic vanilla honey notes on palate with Creme lychee, elderflower and a nutty finish.
Chapel Down Orange Bacchus 2017
5 weeks on the skins. Delicate floral notes on nose, dry tannins on palate but very textured with creamy mouth feel, delicate stone fruits on finish.
Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus 2018 (we affectionately coined this 'Spacchus') Slightly carbonated. 12gr dosage. Delicate elderflower nose with green notes. Refreshing on palate almonds and elderflower.
Chapel Down Flint Dry 2018 Delicate elderflower and cut grass notes on the nose. Dry on palate with stone fruits, crisp acidity with mineral note running through to the finish.
Chapel Down Pinot Blanc 2016 Slightly candied stone fruit on the nose. On the palate fresh stone fruits with floral notes and a light creamy mouthfeel on the finish.
Chapel Down Albarino 2016 Delicate herbal nose with a saline note, delicate green apple and elderflower and pleasing mouth finish.
Chapel Down English Rose 2018
Enticing confected strawberry nose. Dry fleshy body with red berry fruit flavours and simple finish.

Chapel Down Brut NV 44% Pinot Noir, followed by Chardonnay and Pinot Meurnier. Green fruits on the nose and delicious apple pie crust on the palate.
Chapel Down Century Extra Dry NV
16% dosage, richer style than the brut. Great with fruit salad.
Kit's Coty Blanc de Blanc 2014
4 years on the lees, only 9000 bottles made. Peach cobler with sweet almond paste on the palate.

Chapel Down Rose Brut
2 years on the lees. Red berry pie. Lots of red fruits, easy drinking.
Chapel Down Kit's Coty Chardonnay 2016
Aromas of cooked apple and toasted hazelnuts with a background note of butter. The palate has more fresh apple flavours, a smooth texture and long finish.
The Kit's Coty Chardonnay 2016 is available to buy on our website at £32.90 along with the Pinot Noir, which we didn't taste on the day but have tasted previosuly and it's delicious. We will shortly be offering the Kit's Coty Blanc de Blanc 2014 - watch this space!