Albourne Estate near the South Downs had hoped to mark the milestone by hosting an official opening of its new tasting room but its plans were dashed by the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus.

Instead it is marking the occasion with the release of its Red Pinot Noir wine.

The vineyard usually concentrates on white wines, including a white Pinot Noir.

Vineyard co-owner Alison Nightingale said: “It is 10 years this month since we planted our first vine at Albourne Estate and we had been hoping to celebrate this with the official opening of our beautiful new tasting Room overlooking the vines and the South Downs as part of our major drive into wine tourism. 

“However, like most things this has sadly had to be put on hold.  Instead, we are launching our first ever red wine.

“Over the years we've become known for our quality white still and sparkling wines as well as being the first English producer to launch a Frizzante, made from Bacchus, and the second to launch an English Vermouth.  

“For many years we thought we'd never make a red wine.  However, the 2018 vintage seemed to offer too great an opportunity to be missed so we took the plunge.”

The wine label features a striking image of a fox.

Alison said: “As with all our labels, it depicts something from nature seen regularly at the vineyard, painted for us by local artist Louise Body. This time a red fox, which we thought rather apt.”

The wine is made from selected areas of the vineyard of two low yielding Burgundian clones of Pinot Noir which it uses for both still and sparkling wines. 

 Alison said: “This is a very approachable, instantly recognisable cool climate Pinot Noir with aromas of spice, red sweet cherry, blueberry, and subtle violet on the nose.  On the palate, it is a delicate light bodied red wine with gentle, smooth yet firm tannins and a crisp refreshing finish.   We like it best opened an hour before drinking at room temperature.”  

Suggested food pairings range from game to grilled vegetables: duck, pork, veal, chicken, rabbit, venison, tuna, salmon, mackerel, calamari and more. It matches lightly spiced Asian food well and would keep well for about five years. The wine, priced at £17.95 may be bought online at https://www.albourneestate.co.uk/