After tasting a delicious bottle, or two (such a chore) of Madeliene Angevine from other local vineyards, our love affair with this deliciously crisp grape variety blossomed. We soon had our first delivery of young Madeleine Angevine vines ready to start on our English wine journey. But what is Madeleine Angevine? Where did it come from? And why do we love it so much?
Where did it come from?
Now, this bit is going to be a bit more technical, so stick with us. There are a few different grape varieties known as Madeleine Angevine, with the original being from the famous Loire Valley in central France. The original variety was formed from a cross between two grapes, Madeleine Royale and Précoce de Malingre.
The Loire is home to a lot of the varieties you will be used to seeing, from Sauvignon blanc to Pinot noir. So why haven’t we heard of Madeleine Angevine before? Well, France’s wine industry is made up of appellations, these are specific areas and rules only allow for certain grape varieties to be included in wines from these regions. An example of an appellation in France is Sancerre, an area in the Loire Valley, where wines can only be labelled as Sancerre if they are produced from Sauvignon blanc or Pinot noir grapes. When these appellations were formed Madeleine Angevine wasn’t included and as a result, isn’t grown as much in the Loire Valley (Wine folly have a great guide to Loire valley wines here). But in the growing UK wine industry, Madeliene Angevine is proving to be very popular, especially in the south-west as it fits our cooler climate and doesn’t mind a little rain. It certainly seems to thrive on our south fasting slopes on the edge of Dartmoor.
What’s it like to grow?
Now we’d hesitate to say growing vines is easy, but as grape varieties go Madeleine Angevine is not too over-demanding. Growth on the vines is quite steady so they don’t get as out of control as our Rondo sometimes can! They love bathing in the sunshine on our Devon slopes and enjoy a good soaking, which is good as we all know, it’s not always sunshine in England. The only yearly battle we have is with wasps, they just love the sweet smell of the juicy Madeleine grapes, we do too! but the wasps have to share. Thankfully over the years, we have started to perfect controlling the number of wasps around the vines so we can make sure there is plenty for us all.
How does it taste?
Madeleine Angevine makes a beautifully delicate wine that is pale in colour, off-dry and gloriously fruity. Our 2018 vintage is brimming with hand-picked juicy grapes, filling your glass with fruity overtones of melon, apple and gooseberry. Delicious! It pairs perfectly with fresh Devon seafood, chicken or light pasta dishes and we recommend serving a bottle perfectly chilled (4°C).
Why do we love it?
I mean you just have to taste a glass to answer that one, we love the refreshing, crisp delight a glass brings. Madeleine Angevine will always be our first variety, these hardy vines grew with us and nurtured our love for English wine as we learnt to care for them. Alder and Madeliene are a perfect pair, the vines thrive year on year, are a true delight to care for and make an even tastier glass at the end of the year.