Albourne Estate Barrel 24 Chardonnay 2018


12.0% ABV
English orchard fruit, and hint of vanilla and hazelnut

This wine is made from a single clone of Chardonnay selected from a single block of the vineyard on a steep sandstone slope, pressed and fermented in tank and then racked directly to a large, second use, 500 litre American Oak barrel where it matured for 12 months.   A ‘minimal intervention’ approach was adopted and it was hand-bottled unfined and unfiltered directly from barrel.  This wine is for those who love the impact of oak on the intensity and body of a white wine and will really shine as a food wine with, for example, roasted meats. Just 600 bottles were produced; each label written and numbered by hand (by the winemaker’s daughter, stuck at home during lockdown!)

Alison Nightingale is that winemaker. She began her working life in multi-national marketing before changing to a more creative, fulfilling and balanced path, setting up Albourne Estate. She selected the site of the vineyard not only for its stunning views of the South Downs, but for its slope, aspect, altitude and geology: tracing the beautiful south-facing slope of a low ridge created by underlying Cretaceous green sandstone. These features provide excellent drainage, low frost risk and maximum sun exposure. Albourne grow seven grape varieties planted across multiple clones and rootstock. review: “It’s wines like this that make me sit up and realise that English wine is moving into a different gear. It’s not perfect. It has (very) sharp edges that I would breathe more easily if they were polished just a little smoother. But this is like one of those spectacularly glassy marble worktops that, if you’re as shallow as me, you inch over to at that posh dinner party and run your fingers over when no one is looking just because the smoothness grounds you and makes you feel a little less like you’re an imposter in a world where the accents could slice the marble like a cheese wire. So, we’ve established that the smoky-marble accent of this wine is pretty precise and scarily sharp. I find hazelnut skins, but it’s more skinny than hazelnuts. I love this wiry, bony Chardonnay for its pure English accent, it’s fine-tweed texture, English-orchard fruit. It’s Chardonnay with received pronunciation and expensive worktops. But maybe also a cheeky spliff in the garden. 16.5/20” (Tamlyn Currin)

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