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What our expert thought of Brightwell, Oxford Regatta

the tasting

The Tasting

A vibrant, slightly more than medium ruby colour, this is properly red.
There's graphite and cedarwood on the nose, like a freshly-sharpened pencil.  Those oak scents are backed up by cool red fruits: cherry, plum and raspberry, along with some black pepper and quite a lot of dried herbs.
Fully dry, this is light- to medium-bodied, with crunchy, green-apple acidity framing well-integrated damson and cherry fruit.
There’s an iron tang of blood on the firm, slightly leafy finish, where the fine acidity is nicely balanced against some grainy tannins.


The overall effect here is very refreshing and also really French, like a Cabernet Franc from the Loire – perhaps a Saumur-Champigny.  Having said that, there’s also a hint of classic young Chianti in the sour cherry fruit and tobacco leaf finish.
Either way, this is a delicious and completely convincing proper red, not at all the delicate almost-rosé I expected an English red to be.  It does exhibit a degree of classical English understatement, but its subtle charms really grow on me with each sip, making other reds seem a bit coarse and clumsy.
I feel I ought to be better dressed to drink it, exchanging my scruffy T-shirt for some traditional tailoring… and a boater.  Chin-chin!

Tasting notes

clear medium ruby

Intensity medium-

Aromas red fruits (cherry, plum, raspberry), oak (pencil sharpenings), dried herbs, spice (black pepper)

Development developing

Sweetness fully dry

Acidity high-

Body light+

Tannins medium-, grainy

Intensity medium

Flavours red & black fruits (damson, cherry), mineral (iron)

Length medium

Flavours mineral (iron, blood), tobacco leaf
Other notes
Very refreshing. Like a Loire Cab Franc, or a cool-vintage Chianti.

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