8 great wines and cheese from Devon’s Sharpham estate

PUBLISHED: 14:03 07 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:03 07 July 2020

Ticklemore Goat is known across the world. Photo: Nick Hook Photography

Ticklemore Goat is known across the world. Photo: Nick Hook Photography

NICKHOOKPHOTO

The lush countryside near Totnes is helping produce internationally acclaimed wines and artisan cheeses

The terroir of the Sharpham estate is geographically unique, thanks to the River Dart’s ecological corridor.  Photo: Nick Hook PhotographyThe terroir of the Sharpham estate is geographically unique, thanks to the River Dart’s ecological corridor. Photo: Nick Hook Photography

It is often said that ‘what grows together, goes together’, an old adage that helps take the guesswork out of wine and food pairing.

We’ve all experienced holiday epiphanies when a slither of Spanish Manchego comes alive with a chilled Manzanilla sherry, or a robust Argentinian Malbec with a chargrilled steak.

To taste a true expression of Devon, look no further than the idyllic Sharpham Estate . Halfway between moor and sea, on a meander of the River Dart, the Sharpham manor house has been lived in since 1260.

When Maurice Ash purchased the estate in 1960, he combined his farming acumen and love of food to plant grapevines on south-facing slopes of the River Dart and bought Jersey cows for their milk. With humble beginnings, Ash unknowingly established what would grow into a globally acclaimed producer of wine and cheese.

The terroir of the Sharpham estate is geographically unique, thanks to the River Dart’s ecological corridor. Photo: Nick Hook PhotographyThe terroir of the Sharpham estate is geographically unique, thanks to the River Dart’s ecological corridor. Photo: Nick Hook Photography

The terroir of the estate is geographically unique, thanks to the River Dart’s ecological corridor. Borne from raindrops falling onto rugged Dartmoor tors, the River Dart snakes its way through rolling hills, punctuating the undulating landscape as it gushes into the English Channel at Dartmouth. As it flows through the South Hams, it breathes life into the countryside, bringing with it sea breezes, ecological diversity, a habitat for wildlife and rich, fertile soil.

With milk made from Sharpham’s own Jersey cows and high-quality goats’ and ewes’ milk from neighbouring farms, Sharpham Cheese now produces more than 60 tonnes of cheese

a year.

The Sharpham vineyard lies between 12m and 25m above sea-level on south-facing, well drained slopes and along with its sister vineyard along the left bank, Sandridge Barton estate – the slopes are perfect for growing a range of carefully selected cool-climate grape varieties, from which 70,000 bottles of wine are made each year.

Savour is an intensely creamy cheese with a tangy finish.  Photo: Nick Hook PhotographySavour is an intensely creamy cheese with a tangy finish. Photo: Nick Hook Photography

Since 2019, Sharpham Cheese and Sharpham Wine have operated as two separate businesses, with Greg Parsons now at the helm of the cheese business and Duncan Schwab remains head winemaker at Sharpham Wine. The two artisan producers continue to collaborate and have released a new range of wine and cheese combination packs that are available by click & collect or national mail order. u

SHARPHAM CHEESE & WINE

Sharpham Washbourne: Won UK Supreme Cheese at The Global Cheese Awards 2019. Washbourne stood out against an impressive 751 cheeses for its smooth, creamy texture and distinctive flavour. This unique ewes’ milk cheese has a silky texture and honeyed taste.

Pairs beautifully with:

Sharpham Barrel Fermented: (£18.30 bottle) – rich, toasty and full bodied, this unique English wine shows baked apple, sour pineapple, vanilla and cream soda on the nose. The palate is slightly spiced with gooseberry flavours and a fresh acidity cutting through richer creamy notes.

Sharpham Cremet: Cremet won Overall Best Product at the Great British Food Award 2019, chosen as best cheese by Marcus Wareing. This decadent, soft, mould ripened goats’ cheese is enriched with cows’ cream. It is tricky to make well and there is nothing else like it produced in the UK.

It has a subtle, fresh, creamy flavour and mousse-like texture when young, deepening to a full, rich flavour with earthy undertones when ripe. Indulge in Cremet on its own or enjoy it with summer fruits or fresh breads, washed down with a glass of sparkling wine.

Pairs beautifully with:

Sharpham Sparkling Pink: (£27 per bottle) - winning best UK Traditional Method Sparkling Wine at the prestigious 2020 Bollicini del Mondo, this crisp and delicate wine is made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes picked on the left bank of the River Dart at Sandridge Barton. There are aromas of fresh strawberry, tart raspberry

and some floral notes. The palate is vibrant and fruity showing great balance and complexity.

Sharpham Savour: This unpressed, semi-hard ‘washed curd’ cheese is made from milk from Sharpham’s own Jersey cows’ milk and neighbouring goats’ milk. This is an intensely creamy cheese with a tangy finish from the blend of milk. Expect a just-set texture that pairs beautifully with a malty sourdough and drizzle of honey.

Pairs beautifully with:

Sharpham Wine Pinot Noir: (£19 per bottle) - bursting with wild strawberry, cherry and subtle spice, this refreshing pinot noir will complement, not compete, with the lighter flavours of a summer picnic.

The full-bodied flavour and slight tannic notes come from the three months this wine spends ageing in French oak barrels prior to bottling. Pairs well with ripe, rich cheeses and charcuterie.

Ticklemore: First made by Robin Congdon in the mid-1980s, Ticklemore Goat is known across the world and takes its name from a street in nearby Totnes made famous by its cheese shop. Goats’ milk from three local farms gives it a stark white colour, firm flinty texture with a mellow yet complex flavour featuring hints of lemon and herbs. Ticklemore is sublime when melted in cooking, perfect when crumbled into

a salad and beautiful served on its own or with fresh figs.

Pairs beautifully with:

Sharpham Pinot Gris ‘wild ferment’: (£17.70 per bottle) - a zesty and textured wine that’s a brand new style from Sharpham. The nose has vibrant white nectarine, peach, citrus and tangerine. The palate is bursting with more sour stone fruit, a grippy texture from the skin contact, a taught and grapefruit like acidity with a touch of spice on the mid palate.

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