My love affair with English Wines continued when I was lucky enough to visit Brickhouse Vineyard a week or so ago. Brickhouse Vineyard is situated just outside Kenton at Mamhead, about a 20-minute drive from Exeter in the beautiful Devonshire countryside. The views from the vineyard are outstanding and you can even see the sea in the distance.
Welcomed by Joanna, my friend Sarah and I were given a guided tour around the vines to begin our afternoon. Straight away conversation flowed as we all chatted about our favourite English wines, grape varieties and vineyards. There is a great community of English wine lovers, makers and producers in the Devon area and most people know each other or at least know of each other. It was great chatting wine and although I feel my knowledge is pretty limited compared to the likes of Joanna, conversation flowed with ease. That’s what having a common interest does. It brings people together.
We sampled the grapes straight from the vines in preparation for our bespoke wine and cheese pairing in the newly restored 18th century roundhouse. With the harvest imminent the grapes were bursting with flavour. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes blew my mind. I know it sounds silly to say but they tasted just like a cool, crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Completely delicious to say the least.
After taking our seats in the roundhouse, Joanna served our first wine. Brickhouse Vineyards own single variety Sauvignon Blanc, 2016. A truly outstanding wine that turned my head. I had always thought I didn’t like Sauvignon Blanc in the past, but this wine was exceptional. With only 200 bottles produced in 2016. I felt like I was tasting something very special indeed. What a treat to be given the opportunity to sample a wine that is in short supply. This wine was paired with Cornish Yarg. The vibrant aromas of gooseberries, lemon and asparagus went particularly well with this fresh tasting cheese. I felt it was a great combination with this fruity and fragrant white.
Wine number two was Brickhouse Vineyard Rosé, 2016. A blend of Pinot Noir and Regent grapes bursting with the aromas of soft fruits. The cheese chosen to compliment this wine was a French goats cheese log. Joanna said she was looking for the perfect local goat’s cheese to pair with this wine but so far none she had sampled had given her the wow factor! Any suggestions please comment below and I will pass on the details! Joanna said she might even end up creating her own as it is the dream of her husband Matt to create a smallholding alongside the vineyard. I guess we better watch this space.
With good red wines being notoriously difficult to produce in this country, Joanna looked further afield with her choices here. The first being a Chilean Pinot Noir and the second a French Bordeaux. Both very different but equally good. I particularly enjoyed the Pinot Noir and Sharpham Brie combination. The creaminess of the cheese with this light bodied, fruity wine worked a treat. On the other side of the spectrum, the full-bodied Bordeaux paired alongside Quicke’s vintage cheddar was a tongue-tingling winner also.
After the wine and cheese pairing and plenty more chatter, Joanna asked if we would like to meet her family. Of course we said “yes” and they were just as lovely as her. Her husband Matt joined us for a glass of wine and we chatted all things wine related, local produce and great restaurants as well as business aims and life goals. The conversation flowed with ease as if it was if we were all old chums. Their two children Emilia and Ellie joined in on the chatter with their eldest Emilia telling me all about her ballet classes when she found out that I was a ballet teacher. So cute!
A Little Bit About The Family
Following their hearts, in 2015, Matt and Joanna left London to pursue their dream. They wanted to create something new and unusual in a perfect rural setting for those looking for a Devon venue for special events. Alongside this, they wanted to utilise the vines left by the previous house owners to produce some amazing wine. A driving motivation for Matt and Joanna was to create a rural family business that would not only provide a better environment for their young family but also provide a better work-life balance.
A few years on from their move they are now able to share Brickhouse Vineyard with us all for intimate weddings, elopements, all types of events and wine tasting. This really is a family business that has been a labour of love. Check out their website here to find out more about their wedding packages, events and wine tastings.
Disclaimer: I was lucky enough to be invited to Brickhouse Vineyard. I was not paid for this post and all views are my own as always.
If you fancy seeing what other vineyards I have visited in Devon then check out the links below.
To read about my visit to Dalwood Vineyard click here.
For my post on Sharpham Vineyard click here.