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Producer: Bride ValleyGrape Varieties: 38% Pinot Meunier, 32% Pinot Noir, 30% ChardonnayOptimum Drinking: Within 8 yearsWine Style: Vivacious yet subtle fizzAlcohol by Volume: 12%Closure: Natural CorkCountry: England
Steven Spurrier and his wife Arabella are behind Bride Valley, located in West Dorset. Steven, while running Les Caves de la Madeleine and L'Academie du Vin in Paris in the 1980s, had soil (chalky) samples from Arabella's 80 hectare estate tested and the results came back: "very similar to Champagne". This is not surprising because the village of Kimmeridge is just 24 miles as the crow flies from Bride Valley. After two decades and three visits from Boisset's sparkling wine expert, Georges Legrand, vines were planted on the best sites in the bowl of the amphitheatre-like estate. Three hectares were planted in 2009, rising to a total of 10 hectares in 2013 when planting was completed.
The wonderful silver pallor and delicate, persistent bubbles give this wine instant appeal in the glass. The bouquet is rich in white flowers and white summer fruits such as pear and peach, but with classically English undertones of elderflower and green apples. On the palate, the wine is vivacious but wonderfully subtle, with a minerality and freshness on the finish that will remain while it fills out in bottle over the next 24 months.
Specific clones were selected on the advice of Pierre-Marie Guillaume, the owner of France's top nursery in Charcenne (east of Dijon). After intense analysis, seven Chardonnay clones (55% of the plantings), four Pinot Noir clones (25%) and two Pinot Meunier clones (20%) were selected. The vines are planted on south and south west facing slopes. In addition, 1000 Italian Alder trees were planted to act as a natural windbreak to the breezes coming from the Jurassic Coast, four miles to the south. Bride Valley has been sustainably farmed for centuries and although the grapes are not certified organic, the vineyard continues to follow organic principles.
2014 was a wonderful year for English Sparkling Wine. The second warmest in 100 years resulted in an early, even budbreak. Throughout June and July, conditions were warm and sunny which was ideal for flowering and fruit set. August was cooler and wetter, but September and October were dry and temperatures climbed again. This long, warm autumn gave near perfect conditions to ripen the grapes, resulting in excellent sugar and acidity and creating the perfect fruit for a vibrant and deeply satisfying vintage.
All of the grapes were hand harvested and then taken to neighbouring Furleigh Estate where Ian Edwards vinified the sparkling wine in his state of the art winery. The Brut Réserve 2014, a blend of 30% Chardonnay and 32% Pinot Noir and 38% Pinot Meunier, was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and underwent malolactic fermentation. After blending and tirage, the wine spent two years on its lees and received 10g/l dosage.
Press and Awards
Sommelier Wine Awards 2017
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