Beyond the glass – what makes Lympstone Manor Estate’s award-winning Devon wine so good?

By Marc Millon

The English wine scene has evolved immensely over the past two decades and Devon wine is now regularly winning awards and accolades that have brought it to the attention of wine lovers around the world.

So what is it that’s made Devon wines, and those of Lympstone Manor Estate, surge in popularity in recent years? At blind tastings and awards competitions they are showing extremely well, and in all categories, including sparkling wines made by the classic method of secondary fermentation in the bottle from both French varieties as well as hybrid varieties; still white wines, again from varieties of grapes both well and less well known; good rosés; and, in the best, hottest years, even deeply coloured, full and satisfying red wines.

Devon Wine - Lympstone Manor Estates vineyard

Why are Devon wines so good? We have always had a capacity to grow outstanding fruit here. Consider Devon apples – our traditional cider varieties, bittersweets and bittersharps, combine fermentable sugars with tannin and acidity that give our ciders their bite and character, qualities that are found in the best wines. Our eating apples, too, such as Cox’s Orange Pippin, have ripe sweetness tempered by a steely backbone of fruity acidity, so much crisper, more tasty and satisfying than mushy varieties from elsewhere that are sweet and flabby. And our soft fruit, too, such as strawberries, raspberries, red and blackcurrants is unsurpassed.

So it is, too, with growing grapes in Devon. Climate change and global warming have had an impact across southern England and Wales, not only in Devon. But we have long been considered one of the warmest and most mild counties in the country and our vineyards benefit from this. Wine grapes need warmth and heat to reach full phenolic ripeness and sufficient levels of sugar to make wines that reach moderate levels of alcohol without the need for chaptalisation. We can now achieve this here in most years. Devon is now recognised as a quality wine region that has reached the attention of world wine lovers, and the wines of Lympstone Manor Estate are leading the way. The Lympstone Manor Estate vineyard was planted in 2018 with 17,500 Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay vines. The first harvest was in 2020. Though these young vines have already produced impressive results, as they mature, quality and complexity will be even greater. The impressive range from this single-vineyard estate illustrates how good Devon wines can be.

Classic Cuvee 2020

Isabeau Rose 2022

Edwards Chardonnay 2022

Triassic Pinot Noir 2020