Velfrey's wines are blended and bottled by the celebrated family team at Halfpenny Green, South Staffordshire; their vineyard and winemaking consultant, Ben, made the 7-hour round trip down to Velfrey within a week of Andy's
initial enquiry. It was Ben who recommended that Andy should plant Pinot Noir; Andy now has 3170 Seyval to 400 Pinot Noir vines, with just enough to Pinot Noir to produce the Rosé.
Andy had flirted with
Rondo and Regent red grapes, before settling on a combination of Seyval, Solaris and Pinot Noir, buying in Chardonnay for his first, 2018 vintage - which ended up as 48% Chardonnay, with 17% Seyval, 35% Pinot Noir and was on the lees for 18 months.
It tastes very similar to a Classic Cuvee" but with something unique on the palate - on taste alone I was unable to determine which grape varietal had replaced the more traditional Pinot Meunier (my guess was Solaris). Now Andy is working on the balance between
autolytic and fruit, with just enough lees ageing to soften the acidity; and to reduce dosage to 8mg/l.
Contrary to my earlier research I discovered from Andy that there is now a winery in Wales;
it's in Monmouthshire, and is run by Dave Morris, the son of Richard Morris of Ancre Hill Vineyard. Unfortunately minimum batch size prevents some of the smaller local vineyards from using Dave's facilities and Velfrey are by no means the only Welsh growers
taking advantage of the expertise of the team at Halfpenny Green. Given the quality of the resulting wine, long may the relationships continue.
The 2019 vintage is due for release late in 2021,
the ultimate Christmas gift. And buyers are already lining up to reserve the 2020 vintage, a testament to the reputation for quality that Andy and the family team at Velfrey has achieved from their very first vintage.