Monmouthshire Barrique 2020
THE WINEMAKER: JOHNSON KHAN LLEWELYN
2020 Monmouthshire Burgundy 5% abv (1200 bottles produced) RRP £10 75cl
Single variety from 5 trees. This is a bench mark Perry, clean bright and aromatic, with notes of almond pulp, pot pourri and meadow herb. The underlying pear and sappy hedgerow notes help to lift the palate, which is quite gentle, mineral and fresh. This is the Perry to drink with strong cheese.
The pressing is made up of 8 to 10 layers, or cheeses. The free run juice allowed to run off into tank and then the pressing begins, tasting all the time to check the tannin and a acidity levels; everything is done by taste at this point. The juice is then settled and put into either 300 litre or 500 litre Speidel tanks for fermentation and these are kept in our Perry shed on the farm for over wintering. We also used one Bordeaux barrique, a 225 litre French oak barrel which was used for one vintage of white Bordeaux. Then the magic happens, first alcoholic fermentation which occurs naturally though the workings of the natural yeast, and then the Malolactic fermentation as the Perry warms in the spring.
We rack the Perry (move from tank to tank to take it off the gross lees) if we feel the juice is going a little wayward, but otherwise we leave well along to bottling. This happens in the summer as and when we feel the tanks are ready and occurs without fining, filtration or the addition of sulphur. As we bottle ourselves we have greater control over how this process is managed without having to rely on others to make decisions for us. The idea is to try to capture the varietal characters as well as the vintage hallmarks, so all our Perrys are from a single year, and are all still.
JKL Perry is the brainchild of Ben Llewelyn, Alex Khan and Henry Johnson. Set up in 2019, the nascent project started off as a cider and Perry producing operation using fruit harvested form the orchards of north Monmouthshire. The mother orchard is on a farm owned by Henry and located in the village of Llanarth, just outside Abergavenny. In 2020 we they took the decision to focus solely on Perry (Pear) production and use only the trees available on the farm, from which Henry and his family had made Perry for themselves for decades past): five Monmouthshire Burgundy variety, one Thorne and one variety native to the village and believed to be the only one in existence, Llanarth Green. In all these trees yield around 15-20 tons of fruit, despite their venerable age, over 250 years, producing around three to four thousand litres of juice.
In 2020, they purchased and renovated a Victorian cider/perry press using oak from felled trees on the farm to provide the cross beam and supports. They also fashioned their own press stone, which is a unique design and suited for our press. The fruit is all windfall to ensure it is perfectly ripe, and hand harvested each Friday during the Autumn to be be scratted (mashed) prior to settling for 36 hours to help settle the tannins and allow enzymes to work on the pulp, releasing more of the juice at press.
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