Flint Wines owner and part-time Burgundy resident, Jason Haynes puts a glass of DR 2021 in front of some of the best producers in the region.
Climate change is clearly helping the UK become a more compelling location for producing grown up still wines. It is now probably close to where Burgundy was 20 years ago in terms of climate. With this in mind I rather mischievously brought a couple of six packs of the 2021 Chardonnay that we are offering and put a glass in front of some of the best producers from the world’s greatest wine region (sorry all other areas, I know I am little biased!). The reactions were heart-warming and exciting in equal measure.
Having tasted the full range of Etienne Sauzet’s 2022 Puligny 1ers Crus with winemaker Benoit Riffault, and then finishing with his Grands Crus of Bienvenue, Bâtard and Montrachet, which were all stunning, I was taking a risk pulling the cork on the Danbury Ridge to complete the tasting, but having just impressed Meursault maestro, Charles Ballot, with it the night before, I was feeling pretty bullish. The wine did not let me down. It sat really nicely in such classical surroundings, with its gentle reduction, lithe mid-palate and its racy punctuation. It certainly got the thumbs up from Benoit.
It’s a real pleasure to praise an English wine without having to qualify it.
How many times have you heard someone say, ‘ooh, that’s not bad, for an English wine’? Well, there is no need for any qualification with these Danbury wines. They are stand-alone excellent and come highly recommended, and I say that after tasting over 500 wines from the excellent 2022 Burgundy vintage.
2021 Chardonnay, Danbury Ridge @ £186 per 6 bottle case IB
This is wonderfully reductive on opening, with a little oak spice peppering the intensely vibrant minerality of the nose. In the mouth the fruit is beautifully clean and pure with a zingy acidity that really salivates the palate. There is nice salinity throughout and a delicious lees-inspired delineation. The weight of fruit, without a hint of heaviness, is impressive especially given the youth of the vines. This is seriously good and gets better in the glass over a number of hours, a true sign of real class and potential. Drink from 2024.
Jason Haynes,Burgundy Buyer
2021 Pinot Noir, Danbury Ridge @ £198 per 6 bottle case IB
Again the level of ripeness in what was a cool vintage is mightily impressive, yet it remains red fruited and fine featured with a nice level of grip. The Burgundians would call it ‘croquante’, referring to its fresh, vibrant purity and crunchy drinkability. Poised, energetic and beautifully Pinot in character, this will develop charmingly over the next three of four years. Ten years ago I could not have imagined that the UK could produce Pinot of this quality and authority. Well done team Danbury. A very fine effort indeed. Drink from late 2024.
Jason Haynes,Burgundy Buyer
A final word from Janine Bunker, ‘The 2021s may well turn out to be the best wines we’ve released thus far. Expressive and serious.’