Autumn is well and truly arriving and it’s time to welcome it with open arms.
This month I had the pleasure of meeting Bill and Flora Hulme, who after a holiday in Tuscany decided they’d rather fancy having a vineyard of their own in rural Northamptonshire. So when Flora invited us over to have a tour of their place and taste some of their delicious wine, how on earth could we resist, especially after reading the home page to their website . . .
“Life’s not a rehearsal. Let’s enjoy every minute in the company of friends and family.
It’s about being different.
It’s about fun, freedom, bright colours, life, laughter and smiling faces.
The flavour is fresh, crisp, elderflower undertones with a honey and melon top note
Served with blueberry pie, chilled, shared and enjoyed.
It’s sun-filled gardens and light filled rooms.
It’s about laughter.
It’s saying to the world; today is not just any old day. Today . . . will be fun.
It’s a small thing, but it makes a huge difference.
Sunshine. Funshine. Cheers.”
Talk about kindred spirits. I couldn’t wait to get over there!
Fleur Fields is right in the middle of England and is thought of as one of the country’s finest wine producers right now with Mercian Vineyard Association awards from bronze through to the rarely awarded gold, adorning all four of their wine varities.
When you pull up to Fleur Fields there is an immediate feeling of calm and tranquility as you look out over the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside. Bill and Flora came to meet us with a warm welcome that instantly made us feel at home and part of their club – a club that has a quiet confidence that you are about to fall in love with what they offer.
Everything from the initial idea to grow vines, to the harvesting, to the labelling is a collaboration of Bill and Flora with their friends and family and this comes across in every enriching story they have about their wine producing adventures from the last 10 years.
We had a lovely tour of the vines which are just coming up to harvest, and were invited to sample the different plump varieties and given an overview of the growing process – tips on how to achieve the best growth for juicy grapes and examples of the differing flavours produced by different vines. It’s amazing how much you can learn from an hour or so spent meandering through vines of grapes and I realised just how little I knew about the drink I enjoy most weekends. It occurred to me how I shop for wine without much thought to what it is exactly that I’m buying.
Once we had toured the vines it was time to sit in the late September sunshine and enjoy the flavours their wine produces. Fleur Fields produce four wines in total, two sparkling and two still each in a white and rosé version.
Their Champs D’amour Rosé Sparkling is their most rare bottle which can easily be described as vibrant. It has a complex fruity nose and a long dry finish which for me is a wonderful bottle to mark a special occasion (although some say the opening of the wine makes the special occasion).
Their sparkling white, Champs D’amour is light and very easy to drink, feeling balanced on flavour yet fragrant on the nose with a very clean finish. This is sure to become a firm weekend favourite in our house!
As for the still wines, the Fleur Fields Rosé is a refreshing, delicate nose with a long yet well balanced finish and the Fleur Fields White is perfectly crisp and fresh with elderflower undertones and a melon and honey top note.
“. . . as a way to toast the end of summer and welcome in autumn, this was my idea of the perfect day . . .”
I can safely say I will be thinking twice before just grabbing a bottle of something average in the supermarket from now on. The love and passion put into each bottle of wine from this boutique vineyard make paying a few extra £’s per bottle an absolute must. Everything they do is a labour of love and it shows in every story and anecdote they tell.
Bill explained to produce their sparkling wine, each bottle is hand turned over a period of 18 months to achieve the secondary fermentation process which produce the delicate bubbles that make me giddy with happiness. How could you not fall in love with a stunning wine that has been made with such passion?
As a way to toast the end of summer and welcome in autumn, this was my idea of the perfect day.
If you ever are compelled to purchase some beautiful wine to be savoured then I would whole-heartedly recommend contacting this lovely team and treating yourself. They take orders over the phone or you can go to their on site shop.