Sark sparkles for Clarke

After visiting the tiny English island and tasting its first harvest, broadcaster Oz Clarke said that Sark has every chance of doing “something special” in wine.

Sark – situated in the English Channel, eight miles from the Guernsey coast – became the world’s newest wine region after Sark Vineyards released its first harvest last year under the direction of Bordeaux winemaker Dr Alain Raynaud.

The new wine is an experimental blend of Savagnin, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris from the first 30,000 of the 100,000 vines planted on Sark.

Clarke said of the wine: “It’s something like a Cox’s Orange Pippin, it’s actually that specific. It’s very aromatic and it oozes ripeness and texture. It has quite a biting acidity, which is what I want.

“I’m absolutely sure that you could make excellent sparkling wine out of this. I am really looking forward to seeing this in about six months time when it’s had a bit more time to fatten up and calm down. I am delighted to be one of the first people to taste wine from Sark and I bet I won’t be the last – I think Sark has every chance to do something special in the world of wine.”

Sark’s grapes, which also include Gamay, Pinot Noir, Albariño and Müller-Thurgau, are grown organically at about 100m above sea level. Reynaud says Sark’s soil is perfect for the premium end of sparkling wine.

Sark Vineyards has invested around £1million in the island’s wine regions of Rondellerie, Beauregard and Jaspellerie, including a state-of-the-art winemaking facility. It plans to build a new eco-friendly winery when it starts producing on a larger scale.

Kevin Delaney, managing director of Sark Estate Management, which owns Sark Vineyards, said: “To have someone of Oz Clarke’s standing come to Sark and express such a positive view about our first wines is testament to the hard work and commitment that Alain and the entire team have put into Sark’s new vineyard region.”

Alain Reynaud added: “I am very happy to have the opinion of Oz Clarke and for him to discover the first wines of Sark. Savagnin is one of the rarest of grapes and the wines of Sark will be very individual. This is not an easy task but we like to be complex.”

Click here to see Oz Clarke tasting the first vintage from Sark with Alain Reynaud.

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