Simpsons Wine Estate

The Simpsons’ vineyards occupy glorious positions on the sunny, sheltered slopes of the North Downs of Kent, protected from the whimsy of the English climate by ancient woodland and anchored in the iconic chalky soils so highly revered in the world of both still and sparkling wine. On their French wine estate, the award-winning Domaine Sainte Rose in the Languedoc region, the Simpsons have always pursued the cleaner, truer flavours of the grape, and are now bringing this savoir-faire to their English vineyards. With rootstock meticulously matched to the soil and a new world-class winery just minutes from the vines, quality is the watchword.

2021 vintage report

Alongside the challenges that 2021 has brought with it, this year’s growing season was also particularly tough. We were exceptionally fortunate to have escaped the severe frost, which hit many of the vineyards here in the south of England, as well as across Europe, including our sister estate, Domaine Sainte Rose, in the Languedoc. However it was a slow start for our vines and the wet and humid summer added some additional pressures. Thus our harvest began much later this year, starting on Saturday 16 October, which allowed for our fruit to make the most of the gloriously golden autumn sunshine.

Our dedicated team have worked tirelessly to ensure each of the varieties from our two vineyard sites were picked once they reached optimum maturity, arriving at the nearby winery mere minutes after being picked so that the purity and flavour profiles of the juice are preserved. All of the crop was safely gathered in by the start of November and although there has been some reduction in yield this year, the quality of the fruit is fantastic, ensuring the levels of excellence required to make our world-class still and sparkling wines. We look forward to sharing more news about our 2021 vintage as the winemaking processes continue and we work towards the first release dates of the Simpsons’ still wines in Spring 2022.

We’ll produce approximately 155,000 bottles this year, which is a drop of 10% on last year’s production, but as you know last year was low yielding too due to frost.  We would ideally like to be producing at least another 100,000 bottles and easily have the demand for it.  We’re very happy with the quality even though there is not enough of it!  Still production will be down 24% on last year, something which for us is always dictated by the yields of appropriate still-quality fruit.

Alcohols will be 0,5% lower than previous years, with pH more 3.1 than 3.2 pre-MLF.  The later picked fruit allowed more flavour & aroma development rather than any dramatic analytical change.  The wines are definitely leaner given the higher acidity, but still have flavour concentration due to lower yields.

Labour has been an issue for the industry throughout the entire growing season, from pruning to lifting wires to harvesting.

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