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Sussex wine

I was honoured to be asked to contribute to the National Rust on wine. I have known the redoubtable Daphne Colthard for years and no one can pick apart a restaurant wine menu better than Daffers. However she freely admits that wine for drinking and for investment is not her Prada bag.

I thought with so many Rusters living in Sussex I would start with wines from that county as there are some wonderful wines produced there especially on the Ridgeview , Bolney and Nyetimber Estates. Ridgeview has won the 2010 decanter award for its sparkling wine, Bolney produces lovely whites and roses and Nyetimber is the Queen’s favourites champagne. There are two difficulties: the weather and the low production. There is talk of the severe recent bad weather devastating the crop. Because of low volume, prices are necessarily high. However Sussex wine has acquired such a reputation that that there is a move to apply for a status of designated origin like Burgundy or Bordeaux.

Here is an interesting article in the Telegraph which takes the view that this is misconceived – A glass of Sussex

I am always interested to know how customers buy wine. I suspect the supermarket is still the most popular. However in recent years the quality of middle range wine merchants in terms of knowledge, price and distribution has improved significantly. My favourite is still Majestic Wines as the staff are well informed, the pricing fair and the distribution efficient both for personal collection and delivery. Others I use are Swig, Roberson and Lea and Sandeman.

BordeauxThe 2015 and 2016 Bordeaux look like being the best vintages for many years and an investment in them may prove worthwhile. I recently bought a case of Gruaud Larose from Lea and Sandeman and they offer a wide variety of Bordeaux en primeur. No CGT is paid on wine as it’s regarded, like food, as a wasting asset but there are costs of keeping it in bond and of course dealing costs should you sell ultimately. I would say rather like art or classic cars its best to have a genuine interest and some knowledge as it’s an unregulated market.

I appreciate that on the Rust it is de rigeur not to take yourself too seriously so I thought I would end with a story. My brother made it clear he did not want to work in the family wine business and instead became a successful antiquarian bookseller with scant respect for vinology. I once invited him to a wine tasting of Sauternes. He rolled the wine around his glass, gave it a good sniff and the pronounced to the assembled gathering:

The bouquet greets she the nostrils like an old friend “.

About Algy Belville

We are delighted to add Algy Belville to our team of writers. Algy was a director of family film Bodgers and Belville , Wine Merchants of St James. He will be contributing a column on wine. Algy lives in Amberley Sussex , is captain of his Crown Bowls team and a local Councillor. More Posts