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2022 Martin's Lane Chardonnay, Crouch Valley

The latest 2022 vintage of Martin's Lane Crouch Valley Chardonnay has just been bottled and we are very excited to have obtained an allocation.

The Crouch Valley continues to make the news as an emerging wine region, with Alice Lascelles in the FT describing it as 'England's Côte d'Or' in a recent article.  New vineyards and winemakers are being attracted to this relatively warm, dry corner of Essex, including one large, well-known Californian wine producer who has just purchased 26 hectares here.  

This release is tinged with sadness, due to the untimely passing last year of Roy Martin, one of the founders and a truly lovely man to work with in all the dealings we had with him.  The Martin family appear to be continuing in great style set by Roy and the 2022 is exceptional.  We have been blown away by some older vintages of the Chardonnay we have tasted and with 3-4 years of bottle age we feel confident the 2022 will be even better, a match for white burgundy from the classic villages. 

Despite its prosaic Essex location, the Crouch Valley is a beautiful spot, on the Dengie Peninsula, bounded by the estuaries of the rivers Crouch and Blackwater and the North Sea.  The area has some unique grape-growing attributes.  The tidal River Crouch helps to protect against spring frosts, dissipating the cold air.  The area is also the driest in England.  The RHS' experimental 'Dry Garden' at Hyde Hall is only three miles away and the drought-resistant gardens of famous gardener Beth Chatto are just a few miles further up the coast. 

This low rainfall and a warm microclimate allow for a long ripening period for noble varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which in cooler areas only attain the kind of ripeness suitable for sparkling wines.  

Martin's Lane Vineyard was established by a group of family and friends in 2008.  Local vineyard guru Duncan McNeill oversees the viticulture.  He left a career in UK agriculture to train in New Zealand and now manages half a dozen excellent estates in this area.  John Worontschack, one of the most experienced winemakers working in the UK, vinifies the wines. 

This is one of the first still English chardonnay wines we have tasted to offer a real alternative to its French counterparts.  Both the Crouch Valley and this particular wine have a bright future ahead of them, so we recommend becoming early adopters of this new region and adding some to your cellar.

Please let us know if you would like to order.

Offered duty paid, available March 2024.



WHITE 2022 Martin's Lane - Chardonnay 75cl £180 per case of 6 Martin's Lane
2022 / / 75cl
£180 per case of 6
Tasting NotesThe 2022 Martin's Lane Chardonnay has an intense, focused palate at the moment, with excellent saline notes and some flinty minerality. The nose is dominated by stone fruits (peach), citrus and thyme aromas. More texture on palate at this stage than the 2020 vintage. The intensity on the mid-palate goes on and on, extending all the way through the long finish, suggesting this will put on lots of flesh and richness with time in bottle. Drinking 2026-2030. RKL
RED 2022 Martin's Lane - Founder's Vintage Pinot Noir 75cl £220 per case of 6 Martin's Lane
Founder's Vintage Pinot Noir
2022 / / 75cl
£220 per case of 6
Tasting NotesIntense aromas of alpine strawberries, raspberry, loam, some earthy cherry and delicate floral rose petal notes. The palate is surprisingly broad and expansive already, with a firm tannic structure and excellent concentration on the mid-palate, leading to a long finish. A fine backbone and the assertive tannins suggest this will age and develop layers of complexity over the next 3 to 5 years, but it will no doubt last much longer. RKL

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