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English Wines Commissioned By Restaurant - Newsroom - 12-07-2010

Bespoke English Wines Commissioned By British Restaurant
In a move believed to be a 'first' in UK culinary history, the Bingham - Richmond upon Thames's favourite foodie location - is joining forces with England's largest vineyard - Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking - to produce a bespoke collection of locally produced wines which will complement the Bingham's Michelin-starred menu. Talks between the two award winning Surrey businesses commenced in summer 2010.

"We have always been keen to source locally as much produce as possible," says Samantha Trinder, proprietor of the Bingham, "and we met initially with Denbies in the summer. It seemed a natural progression for us to work together on producing an exclusive range of English wines for our restaurant and for events. In most other parts of Europe it would be seen as an omission not to include wine from the local 'terroir'."
Shay Cooper, the Bingham's executive chef, is delighted with the venture. "In the same way that we prepare our menus from the finest British produce wherever possible, and serve a wide range of English cheeses, so, too, should our customers have the option of enjoying locally produced wines." He says.

A collection of three wines has been created: a light everyday drinking white wine; a more complex white and a red, a 100 per cent Pinot Noir. From the initial tasting the Pinot Noir is believed to be one of the highest quality reds produced by Denbies: a still Pinot Noir of such a high quality has never been produced by Denbies for trade in England.

Working closely together Brendan Seal, vintage wine maker and viticulturist at Denbies, Bingham's deputy general manager Jean-Michel Thomas have selected three different blends, using six varietals. These, as yet unnamed, wines will be introduced from early next year. "We are not aware of any other UK winemaker joining forces with an individual restaurant, and these blends show exceptional promise." says Chris White, general manager of Denbies.

"We have blended three superb wines, following a series of site visits and tasting sessions, and know that our customers will relish the experience of being able to enjoy quality local wines with our food." Says Jean-Michel Thomas. "It is interesting to see how the reputation and standard of British food has grown in recent years and we were very impressed with the quality of the wines produced by Denbies. What counts in winemaking, is the 'terroir', and the ability to extract the very best from what nature has given. Today UK food is world class and English wines, in our opinion, are following closely behind."

The English house table wine, which will be the first available, in early spring next year, is an aromatic off dry wine with crisp clean flavours really focusing on the all round appeal of English wine. It will be made of a blend including Müller-Thurgau and Ortega.

The premium white wine is a complex blend of Chardonnay and Bacchus and will be matured in oak barrels, due for release early summer 2011. Finally, the 100 per cent Pinot Noir red should be available next autumn. "The red is the first still Pinot Noir of this quality to be made in the UK. It is a superb example of pure Pinot Noir and one which can certainly give New Zealand competitors a run for their money." Says Brendan Seal, whose New Zealand wine making heritage qualifies him well to comment.

All the wines are produced from single estate grown grapes situated on the North Downs with its famous chalky soil, in a protected valley of south facing slopes, so the quality is controlled from the vine to the bottle.