The first London grown, London made wine
As many people are aware, harvest 2018 was the biggest seen to date in England and Wales. The hot and dry summer resulted in greater yields than we’d seen and more fruit than many wineries had space to accommodate. We felt really fortunate that when Forty Hall Vineyard, in North London, had been advised that there was not enough tank space to accommodate all of their fruit, they knocked on our door.
We’ve been long admirers of Forty Hall - a vineyard in London, socially-minded, not-for-profit and organically certified to boot! Being certified organic, Forty Hall avoids the use of synthetic fungicides, herbicides or fertilisers to encourage sustainability, biodiversity and natural balance. In 2018 there were 65 registered volunteers and 6400 volunteer hours logged. They produced nearly 20 tonnes of grapes in 2018 and we were lucky enough to secure just over 1 tonne of their bacchus. Forty Hall’s own award winning wines are vinified in Sussex, so when they offered to sell us grapes we were excited to consider that it would be the first end to end London wine.
The bacchus was picked and sent down to us at the end of September 2018. When the grapes arrived they were beautiful, and great ripeness. They went straight into the press and we split the juice between older French oak barrels and steel tank, where they fermented using natural yeasts. This was followed by naturally occurring malolactic fermentation and aged for 6 months on gross lees. We do not fine or filter, the wine was bottled in April 2019 and has just officially launched.
We named the wine, Tamesis. Named after the Latin word for the River Thames, which is a stone’s throw from the winery, the label for Tamesis was designed by local London artist, Matthew R. Frame, who took inspiration from the river, and the Roman origins of wine in England. The label references 3 key symbols: the component parts of the Thyrsus, a staff wielded by Roman God of wine, comprised of a fennel plant tipped with a pine cone, wound in vine leaves and ivy and dripping with honey; the Battersea Shield, discovered in 1857 during excavations for the Chelsea Bridge and is believed to date back to 1st century BC; and the bee wing that is the main focus of the label is both a reference to the honey laden Thyrsus and the army of volunteers at Forty Hall.
A wine that truly expresses the varietal essence with nuances of elderflower, white peach, and white pepper with touches of sweet spices and tropical fruit.
At Blackbook we are proud of our London heritage and passionate about the city. We strive to demonstrate that world class wine can be produced in an urban winery and believe that Tamesis is a perfect example of that.
Available now in our online shop.