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Missing Gate English Wine Speakman family in Essex vineyard

Winery Profile

Missing Gate Vineyard

Missing Gate is one of Crouch Valley’s most exciting premium still wine producers.
“We are not following anyone else. We are English wine producers. We reflect our climate and our soil.”

I’m speaking to Missing Gate owner, Nick Speakman, businessman, innovator and Essex farmer. “That’s a bit of a cliché but unless we seek our own identity we will always be compared to other regions, which we are not. Yes we can use Burgundy clones, but we are not in Burgundy. We are stuck on the edge of the Crouch Valley in Essex. And that is our identity. And I’m very proud of it.”

Missing Gate Vineyard of Crouch Valley, Essex has, until very recently, flown well below the radar. Despite growing fruit for many of England’s most critically acclaimed producers, it is only since releasing their first own-label wine from the 2020 vintage that Missing Gate has started to appear on many lists of ‘winemakers to watch’.

Why? Well, being described by Tom Hewson, writing for Tim Atkins’ English wine report, as “the best Pinot Blanc ever made in England” will do the trick. As would following up in the ‘challenging’ 2021 vintage with another barnstorming Pinot Blanc, and adding a gloriously textured, aromatic Bacchus, and a Sauvignon Blanc that wouldn’t look out of place in a lineup of top examples from Marlborough (Crouchy Bay anyone?)

English Pinot Blanc

A rare and delicious English white wine

There are just a handful of producers making English Pinot Blanc today and most of these are made in tiny batches. Sometimes less than a thousand bottles are released each vintage. In May 2022 we held an English white Pinot panel tasting. Missing Gate Pinot Blanc was one of the stand out wines.

If Missing Gate is missing from your wine rack - you'll definitely be missing out.

Missing Gate Vineyard in Crouch Valley in Essex

Crouch Valley is known for its low rainfall and warmer than average temperatures. Being in a valley also means great protection from frost.  But it is an area full of clay soil, which is “terrible land” for farming. The land is so hard to farm that 40 years ago, you couldn’t even give it away.

But then about 15 years ago the first pioneers planted vines in the area and everything changed.  Suddenly people realised this “terrible land” had a future …  Today, some of the biggest wine producers on the planet are buying up land in Crouch Valley.

“Who would have thought our shitty land would be so good for grapes?” Nick is full of lines like these, but don’t be fooled. He comes from a long line of Essex farmers who’ve struggled with this soil, but who also know it intimately and how best to work it. Missing Gate is a little piece of microclimate heaven. With temperatures  about 1 degree warmer than the rest of Essex and low rainfall (as low as Tel Aviv), you can really taste the ripeness of the fruit in their wines. They currently grow Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Bacchus, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  And have plans to double the size of the vineyard to 200 acres over the next few years.   “We didn’t even know what the word sustainability was … we’ve been farming like this for over 40 years.” And for the Speakmans that’s about being environmentally and economically sound. “I’ve got three sons, this vineyard isn’t about me, it’s about securing a future for them.”

Missing Gate offers seriously exciting and qualitative winemaking, from a family estate in the heart of England’s premier region for still wines – the Crouch Valley, Essex.

If Missing Gate is missing from your wine rack – you’ll definitely be missing out.

If you like richer Northern Italian whites or richer styles of Burgundy such as Meursault try this…

Wow. What a wine. A fantastic balance of opulence and refreshingly moreish acidity. This makes Missing Gate Pinot Blanc an extremely versatile wine for food.

Superb with buttery, garlic dishes such as prawns. Chicken in a lightly creamy sauce or roasted cauliflower. For a light lunch, try with grilled haloumi or English ‘squeaky cheese’. Here we paired it with a late summer garden fig salad and shavings of Old Winchester cheese.

Missing Gate paired with a late summer fig salad