While we were hiking along the Eynsford Circular, we passed this sign while crossing through a golf course.
We were intrigued. “Best Wine in Kent” had to mean something, right?
Andrew Googled it as we continued our walk to Shoreham for lunch. He discovered that The Mount Vineyard does tastings Thursdays through Sundays at 12:30pm and 3:00pm. Though the noon hour is aggressive for a wine tasting, we were feeling spontaneous and figured we’d try our luck and see if they still had spots available. And also, if they would accept two very muddy hikers…
Within ten minutes we had arrived at their drive. Up a long pebbled paved driveway, we found fields of vines. We were definitely headed in the right direction.
Just beyond those, we came upon the house, where a sign pointed to the tasting room around the side. I’m not sure what I was expecting from the tasting room, but The Mount Vineyard’s space is gorgeous. Featuring a retractable roof, it’s an indoor/outdoor concept that feels fresh and modern, while still at home in the Kent countryside.
Luckily for us, they had plenty of room for us in their tasting. Featuring five different wine samples and a cheese and charcuterie, it was a good thing we came hungry. They set us up at a table, not minding our muddy hiking gear.
Before this, I think I’d only tried one English wine in our time here (a Pinot Noir at The Shed, which they served either warm or cold. I remember because that is odd coming from America!). I was excited to try a whole range.
Our tasting started with their Sparkling White, 2013. Made in a similar style to French Champagne, it was really delicious and an excellent introduction to The Mount Vineyard’s wines.
That was followed by their Organic Pinot Gris, produced by The Mount Vineyard with Meopham. Also sparkling, this wine was more like a prosecco (I did not know how prosecco was made before this!). While it was good, it was certainly not their Sparkling White!
Next up was their Flint Key, a white wine blend. It reminded us of a vinho verde. They also brought out our cheese and meat slate then, delicious.
The tasting continued with their Rose Key. It was a nice rose, despite any misgivings the darker pink color may have given me.
Because there isn’t much sunlight in the UK (you’re telling me!), red wine is difficult to create here. The sun is what speeds up the ripening and sugar content in the grapes, therefore creating more alcohol. The Mount Vineyard’s only red, a Pinot Noir, reflected this in its light taste. It was good, but not nearly as bold in flavor as ones grown elsewhere.
By the time we left, the tasting room was full of groups of friends and families gathered together for a weekend meal. We bought a bottle of the Sparkling White to take home with us and were sad to leave the lovely vineyard and the lovely staff who looked after us that day.
It was fascinating to learn more about this small vineyard and how the different wines were produced. The beautiful tasting room and restaurant are well worth the visit. The have stone-baked pizzas that looked awesome, so it is definitely a place to enjoy food and wine.
Learn more about the vineyard and bookings here: http://www.themountvineyard.co.uk/