Anyone who is sceptical about the quality and future potential of English Sparkling wine should taste this and where possible visit the estate. The amount of love, thought, effort and sheer cash that has gone into this project is amazing and the wine absolutely stacks up.
Established in 1952 by Major General Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones, Hambledon holds the crown of the oldest commercial vineyard in England. Located in the South Downs is England, the estate was acquired in 1999 by Ian Kellett. Ian had a plan to restore Hambledon to its former glory and following extensive research, he was confident that the site was perfectly suited to the production of sparkling wines.
Formed on the seabed of the Paris basin over 65 million years ago, Newhaven chalk is the perfect type of soil for vines to grow and Newhaven chalk is abundant on the Hambledon estate. The very same chalk is found in the best Chardonnay areas of the Côtes des Blancs in Champagne in France. 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.
Today, Hambledon comprises over 200 acres of vineyards and is 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 minimal intervention winemaking, joined Hambledon. He now directs all winemaking at the Estate alongside Felix Gabillet, with this duo at the helm we are very excited to see what's next. If this Premiere Cuvée is anything to go by, it will be nothing short of phenomenal.