England’s oldest commercial vineyard was planted in 1952 and went on to release the first commercial range of English wines. Hambledon Vineyard now comprises over 200 acres of vineyards and the only gravity-fed, state-of-the-art winery in the UK. Their Premiere Cuvee NV has confit lemon, orange blossom and white lily exude on the nose, nestling amongst ripe apricot, white peach and baked red apple. The palate intensifies, evolving into tarte Tatin, almond croissant and a dusting of crumble, yet maintaining a precise structure, creamy texture and mouth-watering acidity. The finish develops a mineral, chalky quality, nodding to our Hampshire terroir, and the svelte mousse remains persistent and elegant. Incredibly complex and immensely enjoyable.
The blend is 73% Chardonnay, 24% Pinot Noir and 3% Pinot Meunier, mostly from the 2013 harvest, with barrel-aged reserve wines from 2010. All the grapes were pre-selected and handpicked from their own private estate. A second selection took place in the winery prior to pressing to ensure only the most mature grapes were used. Repeated tasting during pressing resulted in a low yield extraction: Hambledon sacrificed volume to maximize quality. A minimum of 46 months ageing on lees took place.
www.jancisrobinson.com tasting note: “It smells like champagne. Rich and leesy, and broad. Hugely impressive, takes up all the space, stands with wide shoulders and feet wide apart, commanding. Something a little salty. And then just as it seems to be all about making a full-frontal impact you realise that the finish is vertical and incredibly intense and it pulls in, apricots and salted lemons and orange peel and as tightly and precisely folded as origami in marble. Texture that somehow reminds me of silk and sandpaper. 17.5/20” (Tamlyn Currin)
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