The Brit and I were taken to Setley Ridge on our day excursion to the New Forest by his brother. He knew we wanted to try English wines and thought that might be a really good one to try. Besides, it was hardly horrible driving through the New Forrest with all the adorable ponies and beautiful scenery. It was a beautiful day and we were in a relaxed and very happy mood.
When we pulled up to the place I could hardly believe that there would be wine sold here. It was basically a large wood building (shack) in the middle of nowhere. There was a gravel car park off the main road. It seemed as though there was a plant nursery next door. So where was the winery? Where did they grow the grapes?
Stepping into the building was amazing. The place was heaving with charm and warmth. Everywhere you looked there were cool things to see. It was a gourmet food shop that also sold wines and locally made alcohols along with crafty things and cooking stuff. The place was fantastic and I was very enthusiastic. The staff couldn’t have been nicer or more welcoming. They were wonderful.
I had to laugh when we started the tasting that our hostess admitted to not being a wine drinker. Giving her credit though she poured perfectly and described the wines and the flavors as well as any of the wine hosts in Napa. It was encouraging that she bothered to know her product.
Our first taste was the Setley Ridge dry white wine. There was no vintage on the bottle, but we were told it was from the 2015 crop. Gooseberries and citrus flavors filled the mouth on the first sip. It was lively and bright with a long finish. It was not my favorite style of wine, but I could imagine people enjoying it, especially as a mixer like a spritzer.
The Medium Sweet white wine was a bit of a misnomer I must say. I wouldn’t call it at all sweet, it was far more balanced than the dry, if I were being honest. Apples and honeysuckle filled my nose at first impression. On the palate were peaches, medium acidity, and lots of flavor. I really enjoyed this sip and thought it was the best of their lineup. I could imagine sipping this wine on a warm summers day in the New Forest enjoying watching the ponies saunter by.
The Brit comments: Agreed, this was definitely the best of their wines; an easy to drink off dry wine.
The Oaked Red (Yes, this is what they call it – no fancy names here) smelled of earth, forest floor, and cedar wood. If you enjoy wood flavor in your wine this is the one for you. There are very light tannins although I wouldn’t call this wine smooth. It was an interesting sip, that I think would go best with a plate of cheese and pate with crackers.
The Brit comments: The English climate does not make it enable traditional Bordeaux red grapes to be grown, so this red used Triomphe and Regent grapes; neither of which I have encountered outside English winemaking.
The Rose was up next. Made from the German Rondo grape, this rose was low on sugar, had a short finish and honeysuckle and pear on the nose . I liked the beautiful color of the wine in the glass. This was my second favorite sip of our visit.
As we were there and it would have been rude not to, we gratefully accepted a taste of the apple vodka that they also make. The flavor was good; full of natural apple flavors and lots of vodka burn. WOW. They also had a selection of liquors in different flavors but we didn’t taste them.
This was such a fun place to visit and I have to admit that I was really disappointed that I was leaving for Eastern Europe the next day and I couldn’t take any of the beautiful food with me. It had me drooling. Next time!