An experimental approach with this skin-contact white, in our opinion one of the most successful from Tillingham yet! It uses mainly Ortega, a white grape that favours the English climate, along with a blend of Chardonnay, Schönburger and Bacchus, all of which are subject to a variety of techniques such as direct press, skin-maceration in whole bunches, ageing in both wooden and steel vessels and lees stirring before all being blended back together again to create the finished wine. The result sees that typically tart, green apple freshness given an impressive level of texture and depth - Stone fruit led, with elevated savoury notes including cacao and spice.
We think Ben Walgate's Tillingham project is one of the most interesting and exciting in the UK right now. He popped into our world with his zippy (and eye-catching) 2017 Pet Nat - a tart, rhubarb-fruited sparkler - and since then he's put out a wide-ranging well executed selection of wines, from barrel-aged Chardonnay to Ortega matured in Georgian-style qvevri that Ben has had installed in his cellar. In this time he's also generated a huge demand for his wines. Following in the footsteps of British producers Ancre Hill and Davenport (in Wales and England respectively), Tillingham is all about embracing the natural approach; from well-sourced fruit to manual production, spontaneous fermentations and judicious use of additives in the wine. The 2020 vintage marks the first to use fruit from his own organic estate vineyards that have now reached maturity.