When it comes to very local food and drink options in this bit of Essex, one tends to think oysters, chippies and ice creams- wine doesn’t tend to be high on the list. Sure in a regional sense Dedham Vale have put out some decent vintages and New Hall in Chelmsford are certainly doing the do. But go local, as in walking distance from the glorious Brightlingsea semi-detached that is Boomboom Towers? Unheard of.
Until last month, when I quite literally heard of Thorrington Mill via a social media ad for one of their ‘open evenings’ where punters are invited to wander the vines, sit by the mill pond and enjoy a glass of their first vintage wines. Door to door, the mill is a squeeze under 2 miles from my house and they were serving pizza, so it seemed rude not to go and check it out.
Thorrington Mill is a tidal mill situated on the estuary cist between Colchester and Clacton. It is apparently the only tidal mill left in England if you care about such things. It’s certainly pretty, set back from the Brightlingsea road with glorious views of the creek and of course those bright vines sprawling all over the south facing slopes. It’s a really lovely spot for a picnic and some drinks (top tip- take a camping chair) and I’d heartily recommend booking in for one of their open nights via their website or socials.
But enough about the scenery, what about the plonk?
The vineyard was established in 2018 so the 2021 vintages are their first and they currently have available a pinot noir rosé and a Bacchus.
I’ll start with the pink. I might say I’m not a fan of rosé but I think I’m just bad at buying my own. A grim, strawberry sweet, fiver a bottle sort of pink wine is my personal drinking hell but give me something very cold and desert dry on a summer afternoon and now you’re talking. The Thorrington Mill 2021 rosé is pretty darned good. It’s dry enough and fruity in what I can only call a grown up way, mildly spicy on the finish. Crying out for some mezze and chargrilled chicken. Approved by all*.
*For all see: Me, her in law and the Mr.
Next up, the Bacchus. Oh, boy, that Bacchus. I’m a groupie of the grape already, and was really looking forwards to this. It did not disappoint. In fact, it’s memory it is constantly threatening to bankrupt me on a daily basis. The biggest hit is of elderflower, cleaned up by sweet green fruit and enough acidity to keep it fresh. It’s a really different and easy drinking wine, intensely aromatic and refreshing. It wont be for everyone, but deserves highlighting. I have less than no idea what you’d serve it with, but you wont go wrong with a slow glass on a sunny afternoon, again served very cold. Full marks from the ladies, the Mr preferred the rosé but his favourite Bond was Roger Moore, so make of that what you will.
As with most English wines, you’re not going to find these in any bargain buy lists with white and pink going for £17 and £19 a bottle respectively- which makes me mindful of plugging them in the current economic climate. However, as a local business who are frankly smashing it, I would encourage anyone to invest some time checking them out or booking in for one of the open evenings- where the wines (and a load of beers and softies) are available by the glass from £6.
One would hope they will be stocking shelves in a supermarket near you in the next few vintages, but for orders now are direct and you can find all the info and contact details you need on their website.