Thursday, August 6, 2009

**+ $ Elysian Fields Medium Dry Red, 2007, East Anglian Region, Ely, England - Wine Review and Rating

Review: OK, call me crazy: an English wine?!? Beer we all understand from England. But wine? It struck me how un-Napa-like the weather virtually always is throughout the UK - cool, showers most days, little variation from day to evening temperature. Not prime cabernet sauvignon growing climate.

But, here I am in England, in the area of Cambridge and Ely, so how could I not try a bottle of local wine? "Easy", you might say. "Agree," I would answer, "but sometimes I just need to try the harder way."

So, here it is, the harder way - central English countryside wine...

Elysian Fields Medium Dry hails from Elysian Fields Vineyard at La Thetford, Ely. The winemaking itself was by New Hall Vineyard, Furleigh, Chelmsford.

In the glass Elysian Fields Medium Dry Red is ruby red, medium tint. A pretty color, something between a rose and a pinot noir. On the nose, a shy, bright aroma - with a deep sniff, you can pick up a beaujolais-style hint. Seems generally raspberry with a whiff of oak.

On the first sip, you are hit by two sensations at the same time - sweet and prickly acid. Those sensations are more typical of a white - a crisp riesling, for instance - than a dry red. Still, it's not an unpleasant sensation, and somewhat in keeping with the ruby color of the wine. Following the sip, light berry notes - red cherry and raspberry - sprinkle through your palate. Oak is the only element of a darker note. Finish is quick, a bit more like soda pop than wine. Still a generally pleasant experience overall, and much more impressive than I anticipated. The friendliness is complemented by a very modest 10.5% alcohol level.

Two stars on the Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its surprising and effusive friendliness. Congratulations, Ely, England, job well done!

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