Raymond Blanc, one of Britain’s most respected chefs, has described Biddenden Vineyards’ Pinot Noir 2011 as one of the best he has ever tasted.
Mr Blanc, owner of Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saison hotel and restaurant which has two Michelin stars, is now planning to serve the red wine from Kent’s oldest commercial vineyards to his discerning guests.
He encountered Biddenden Vineyards Pinot Noir 2011 when he was a keynote speaker at the National Fruit Collections Diamond Jubilee Conference, held at Brogdale.
Mr Blanc shared his opinion of the wine, which was served at the conference celebrations, in his speech. He and his chef sommelier, Arnaud Goubet, ordered tasting samples of the Biddenden Pinot Noir 2011 and Mr Blanc is keen for it to appear on Le Manoir list as soon as possible.
“It is very exciting to discover a great Pinot Noir grown in England with such character. I am pleased to support a local supplier”.
Mr Blanc is not alone in his opinion of the Pinot Noir. This summer it was awarded the Bernard Theobald Trophy for the Most Outstanding Red Wine in the English and Welsh Wine of the Year competition.
Sandra Matthews-Marsh, chief executive at Visit Kent, attended the Diamond Jubilee conference.
“Such high praise, from a French connoisseur, for a Kent wine produced by one of our county’s key tourism champions is such an accolade. Biddenden Vineyards is a tremendous Kent asset – a high quality visitor destination and a shining example of high quality local produce. The Biddenden team not only works hard to build on its own achievements year on year but is always willing to share their knowledge and expertise with new businesses.”
Julian Barnes’ family established Biddenden Vineyards in 1969. Now, as managing director, he oversees the production of Red, White, Rosé and Quality Sparkling Wines from 11 varieties of grapes grown over 23 acres. Twenty years ago the business expanded to produce traditional Kentish ciders alongside farm-pressed apple and pear juices.
Mr Barnes welcomes visitors to explore the vineyards throughout the year and, beyond supplying a few local businesses directly, he relies on sales of his wines, ciders and juices through the vineyard shop, which offers tastings, and the Biddenden Vineyards’ website.
“I am pleased Raymond Blanc really enjoyed the Pinot Noir 2011 and that he has already ordered tasting samples. It is proving very popular.”
Biddenden Vineyards has just completed harvesting this year’s grapes and has yet to discover whether they will be producing 2012 award-winning wines.
Mr Barnes said:
“Some of the weather this year has been difficult – but conditions vary so much from vineyard to vineyard and between different areas and slopes within each vineyard. Overall we have had a good harvest and although I would have liked to have seen a greater quantity of grapes I think we could be pleasantly surprised by the quality.”