Ben is known for creating wines in Georgian qvevri vessels, this is what makes Tillingham unique. The Tillingham Endgrain Ortega is the replacement to Tillingham’s 2017 Ortega. This is produced in Peasmarsh east Sussex at the Tillingham vineyard. It’s set amongst 70 acres of rolling hills and woodlands with far reaching views along the Tillingham River valley and across to the fortified, hill-top town of Rye, East Sussex, to the sea and the Romney salt marshes beyond. Tillingham is committed to farming in a diverse, poly-cultural way, they believe this is not only a highly sustainable approach but in conjunction with biodynamics, aims to restore soils to an optimum level of organic matter and microbial and wider ecological diversity. Ben Walgate was formerly CEO of Gusbourne wine estate in Ashford.
The Ortega grapes are crushed and left on skins for foot treading twice a day for 5–7 days before being pressed in a small basket press and fermented in stainless steel and oak barrel. The Chardonnay grapes whole bunch pressed and fermented in stainless steel. The Schönburger grapes are hand selected on the sorting table, whole bunches foot trodden and left on skins for 24 hours before pressing in a basket press and fermenting in stainless steel. The Bacchus grapes are whole bunch pressed, fermented in stainless steel and aged in oak fuder. There is Zero filtration, Zero Fining and Zero Sulphur. The Tillingham Endgrain Ortega is an evolution involving longer skin contact and the introduction of other aromatic varietals, it is stone fruit led, with elevated savoury notes including cacao and spice. Indescribable bliss.