Danbury Ridge Wine Estate Octagon Block Chardonnay 2018


14% ABV
Layers of zesty citrus aromas, honeysuckle, and nougat; a creamy & full bodied palate, focused acidity and well-integrated oak

Danbury Ridge have wowed the critics with their inaugral still wine releases. This is their first limited edition Chardonnay – just 888 bottles were produced – from the best grapes of the fabulous 2018 vintage.  This wine expresses layers of zesty citrus aromas, honeysuckle, and nougat. The palate is creamy and full bodied, showing a focused acidity and well-integrated oak. The generous weight and long lingering finish lend to its status as an “888” wine, as Danbury’s premium range is called.

The Octagon Block is the most established vineyard on the estate with an eclectic soil profile. Spanning over 12 acres, most of the vines sit on glacio-fluvial sediments of sandy gravel, known as Danbury Gravel, that accumulated during the last Ice Age, and clay outcrops at the lower, southern end. Clay is renowned for producing powerful wines and gravel pulls in the opposite direction. Planted at low density, the Octagon Block has proven itself capable of producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that are exceptionally rich and complex.

The 2018 vintage was an excellent growing season. The intense cold and heavy snowfall brought on by the “Beast from the East” delayed the growing season and crucially meant frost at bud-burst was avoided. The warm temperatures and dry conditions prevailed into summer and our vineyards’ experienced 1,039 growing degree days. This long vegetative cycle allowed for slower grape maturation, enhancing flavour development. Near perfect conditions at harvest has resulted in wines that exhibit elegant textures and a generous fruit profile making 2018 a vintage of an exceptional nature that will allow for cellaring.

Fruit was handpicked and whole bunch pressed. After little or no settling the juice was transferred to 228L Burgundian oak barrels for fermentation. The wine was then left on gross lees for 18 months, where malolactic fermentation took place without battonage. The wine received another 12 months elevage before release without any fining.

Danbury Ridge was founded by two generations of the Bunker family: Michael and Heather Bunker and their daughters, Janine and Sophie. The first vines were planted in 2014, with an unwavering focus on still Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clones to exploit the unique mesoclimate. After just a few seasons the vines were producing grapes of a ripeness previously unseen in the UK.

Estaurine Essex is smeared with a thick layer of London Clay, but at Danbury Ridge this tenacious deposit lies beneath a significant overburden of fluvial-glacial sand and gravel. It is this coarse aggregate, deep in some places, shallow in others, that makes Danbury Ridge so special. The Danbury Ridge mesoclimate comes into its own in late summer. Ripening does not stall with the autumn equinox. Natural woodland shelter belts, together with the light topsoils, magnify the effects of September sunlight.

Read more about Danbury Ridge here.

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