Exmouth-based chef Michael Caines has partnered with Lyme Bay Winery in Axminster on a high-end English fizz called Lympstone Manor Cuvée.
The fizz will be made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grown at the grade II listed Lympstone Manor, where Caines works as a chef.
The vines were planted in 2018 on a southwest-facing vineyard overlooking the Exe estuary within the grounds of the listed building, which boasts a hotel and restaurant.
Caines had plans to make a wine on the property when he opened Lympstone Manor hotel and restaurant in 2017, and quickly set about planting 17,500 vines on the estate.
Given the proximity of Devon-based winery Lyme Bay to Lympstone Manor, the collaboration on the English fizz made sense.
“I am excited to be starting on this adventure to create our first vintage of Lympstone Manor Cuvée. I have high hopes that we can produce something special. The terroir here is incredible: the vines bask in a protected microclimate that has been identified as one of the best in the country,” Caines said.
“Our vineyard team has been assiduously caring for the vines and I am confident that the vineyard will yield outstanding fruit. Lyme Bay will be the ideal partner to help me transform grapes into the classic style of premium quality bottle fermented sparkling wine that I wish to create.
“Lyme Bay is passionate about producing outstanding still and sparkling wines, many of which we already serve in our restaurant. I am as impressed by the high quality of their products as I am by their enthusiasm, standards, and ethos, which match my own,” he added.
As passionate about wine as he is food, Caines will take a hands-on role in the production of the wine, having a deciding say on everything from tasting tank samples to deciding on the final blend and the ageing regime.
“We are thrilled to be working with Michael on this project. We share a passion for English wine and for the beautiful county of Devon, which will be poured into this cuvée,” James Lambert, managing director of Lyme Bay, said.
The 2020 grape harvest will begin in early to mid-October and the first vintage of Lympstone Manor Cuvée will go on sale in 2023.