Established in 1952 by Major General Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones, Hambledon in the South Downs is England’s oldest commercial vineyard. Ian Kellett acquired Hambledon in 1999 with a view to restoring Hambledon to its former glory and research convinced him that the site was perfectly suited to the production of sparkling wines. The Newhaven chalk on which the vines grow was formed on the seabed of the Paris basin some 65 million years ago and is found in the best Chardonnay areas of the Côtes des Blancs in Champagne. In 2005 a 10-acre ‘test bed’ of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier was planted on a combination of 27 different vine clones and rootstocks to see which gave the best results. Hambledon now comprises over 200 acres of vineyards and the only gravity-fed, state-of-the-art winery in the UK. In 2011 Hervé Jestin, one of Champagne’s leading chefs de cave and renowned expert in minimalintervention winemaking, joined Hambledon and now directs all winemaking at the Estate alongside Felix Gabillet.
Fresh sourdough, magnolia and lily scents mingle with a hint of smoke over a core of greengage, red plums and dessert apples. The Palate is vivid, almost vibrantly crunchy with precise, structured yet ripe acidity. It is linear, dense and long with momentum and power that bodes well for the future. This wine has energy and latent tension that will unfold to reveal layers of floral and stone fruit aromas and a rich palate with great length.
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