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Black Chalk Classic 2016

Sparkling Wine from England
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England excites, as our 2020 Wine Champions tasters found when faced with this glorious glass of wine that prompted many attempts to guess its identity. Hampshire was the answer, via former Hattingley Valley winemaker Jacob Leadley, and its elegance, balance and purity mark it out as exceptional. Members are urged to discover what the fuss is about.
is no longer available
Code: SG2941

Wine characteristics

  • Sparkling Wine
  • 2 - Dry
  • Pinot Noir Meunier Chardonnay
  • Now to 2026
  • 12% Alcohol
  • oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Champagne cork

England

Thanks to a combination of warmer, drier summers, better understanding of soils and micro-climates, and heavy and intelligent investment in vineyards and wineries, English and Welsh wines are now better than ever.

There are now more than 500 vineyards planted totaling over 2,000 hectares, with a 75% increase in the last six years alone. Because of our northerly latitude and maritime island climate, site selection is crucial. Not surprisingly, the majority of vineyards are found in the English southern counties of Sussex, Kent, Gloucester and Hampshire though there are some found as far north as Yorkshire.

Styles of wine

English and Welsh wine producers as a whole continue to make major improvements to their wines, but it is the producers of premium sparkling wines which have received the most accolades in recent years, blazing a trail for the industry as a whole to be given the serious attention it deserves.


Sparkling wine - This is a major growth area for the UK with our climate...
Thanks to a combination of warmer, drier summers, better understanding of soils and micro-climates, and heavy and intelligent investment in vineyards and wineries, English and Welsh wines are now better than ever.

There are now more than 500 vineyards planted totaling over 2,000 hectares, with a 75% increase in the last six years alone. Because of our northerly latitude and maritime island climate, site selection is crucial. Not surprisingly, the majority of vineyards are found in the English southern counties of Sussex, Kent, Gloucester and Hampshire though there are some found as far north as Yorkshire.

Styles of wine

English and Welsh wine producers as a whole continue to make major improvements to their wines, but it is the producers of premium sparkling wines which have received the most accolades in recent years, blazing a trail for the industry as a whole to be given the serious attention it deserves.


Sparkling wine - This is a major growth area for the UK with our climate well-suited to the production of sparkling wine which accounts for 66% of total output. But it is the premium, bottle-fermented wines that have made the rest of the world sit up and take notice. Sussex and the South Downs are perfect for growing the classic mix of Champagne grapes, chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. The South Downs are actually on the same geological formation (limestone on top of a sandstone belt) that continues down through the east of France to Champagne. However, this type of soil is not everything and many vines for top bubbly made over here are grown on very different, often clay-based soils quite different from the Champagne-like calcareous formation, and our climatic conditions seem to be just as important, if not more so.

The best sparkling wines give the Champenois a good run for their money and are better than many Champagnes. We currently buy top-quality premium sparklers from Nyetimber in West Sussex, who with 400 acres are the largest producer of the style in the UK, and Ridgeview in Ditchling Common, Sussex.

Dry white - Reflecting changing tastes, wines made here are increasingly made on the drier side, helped along by warmer summers and improved techniques in vineyard and winery. Still dry white wines show a natural acidity and crispness in their youth. They tend to have a certain nettley, hedgerow freshness about them that is peculiarly English and most attractive. Such wines now represent 24% of all English wine production, Still

Rosé & red - This is style that is also increasing in popularity and one at which the UK can excel, rosé again shows well in its youth, often with attractive strawberry aromas and just a hint of sweetness to balance out the acidity. Reds are a minority as they tend to sometimes lack the necessary ripeness to allow them to show at their best unless our summer and autumn weather is particularly benign. Advances are being made here too though, as producers experiment with different varieties and vineyard sites to find which ripen best where. Front-runners are dornfelder, rondo and pinot noir but at the moment, none has impressed sufficiently and prices are rather high so we have not yet selected any to offer to members.

Wine labelling - English and Welsh wines are produced and labelled under a Quality Wine Scheme which was established in 1992. They are classified in ascending order as table wine, regional wine or quality wine.

Grape guide

Faced with a blank canvas, what vines should a grower on these islands plant? Many of the varieties planted have German origins, partly because it was originally German-trained winemakers who helped UK growers with advice and expertise. It was also felt that these varieties would have better success in such a northerly latitude and, in the 1970s, when there was a resurgence of wine growing in this country, German wines were in their heyday. It is vital to choose early-ripening varieties with good resistance to fungal disease; many of those that have had success are in fact hybrids, again developed in Germany.

Today, there is a patchwork of a multitude of different varieties found in the vineyards of England and Wales. With one or two notable exceptions, these are generally blended together to create wines with a real point of interest and difference from those found elsewhere in Europe. As many of the grapes will be unfamiliar to members and because they rarely appear on their own, so may be difficult to get to know, we provide the principal characteristics below.

More recently, and line with the success of sparkling wines on these shores, pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier have been planted extensively and continue to be so.
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England Vintage 2016

2016 has been an excellent year for English wines, especially sparkling and especially from vineyards in Sussex, where we have seen an excellent balance of ripeness and fresh acidity. There were no dramatic weather patterns, and summer temperatures were mostly good so grapes ripened well, although a frosty April meant lower yields in many areas. The smaller berry sizes for many growers this year have resulted in nicely concentrated wines and the dry period from August to harvest time helped ensure that the grapes were in excellent condition. Overall, low yields and very good quality: certainly a year to be excited about.

Club Oenologique

After 26 months onthe lees in bottle, this classic ‘Champagne blend’ from ex Hattingley Valley’sJacob Leadley’s new venture, is exotic in aroma with an underlying hint ofyeastiness ...
After 26 months onthe lees in bottle, this classic ‘Champagne blend’ from ex Hattingley Valley’sJacob Leadley’s new venture, is exotic in aroma with an underlying hint ofyeastiness rich and full-bodied in its peachy flavours with a fluffy-texturedhint of toastiness and a pristine fruit quality that’s rounded out by more thana soupçon of sweetness, yet finishing dry.
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91/100 Anthony Rose

decanter.com

This is the secondvintage from Black Chalk in Hampshire. Jacob Leadley, formerly head winemakerat Hattingley Valley, has crafted an impressive blend of the three Champagnegrape varieties, with the base...
This is the secondvintage from Black Chalk in Hampshire. Jacob Leadley, formerly head winemakerat Hattingley Valley, has crafted an impressive blend of the three Champagnegrape varieties, with the base wine aged in oak barrels. Good perlage. Lovelyprecision and purity here, with a hint of biscuity creaminess and a depth ofmellow fruit flavours – lemon citrus and a suggestion of red berries. Very goodacidity, but well-integrated, not at all jarring. 8g/L dosage. A benchmark forEnglish sparkling.
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92/100 Amy Wislocki

Yorkshire Post

Made byYorkshire-born Jacob Leadley, Black Chalk is a relatively new name on the scenebut it is gaining many accolades and medals. This wine is made from pinot noir,pinot meunier and chardonnay grown on...
Made byYorkshire-born Jacob Leadley, Black Chalk is a relatively new name on the scenebut it is gaining many accolades and medals. This wine is made from pinot noir,pinot meunier and chardonnay grown on the chalk hills of Hampshire andfermented using the classic in-bottle method. Aged on its lees for at least twoyears, it achieves honeysuckle aromas with a textured palate of white peach andlemon, toasted hazelnuts and a clean-as-a-whistle definition.
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- Christine Austin

The Daily Telegraph

One of England’s leading – and newer – wine producers, Black Chalk was founded by Jacob Leadley during his time at Hattingley. This is made from chardonnay, pinot noir and quite a ...
One of England’s leading – and newer – wine producers, Black Chalk was founded by Jacob Leadley during his time at Hattingley. This is made from chardonnay, pinot noir and quite a large chunk of pinot meunier which brings a breadth and spice to the wine. 
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- Victoria Moore

JancisRobinson.com

Plenty of finemousse. Lively aromas of citrus and light notes of bready yeast addingcomplexity. Certainly not bone dry with rich sweet citrus on the palate butperfectly balanced by the crisp acidity....
Plenty of finemousse. Lively aromas of citrus and light notes of bready yeast addingcomplexity. Certainly not bone dry with rich sweet citrus on the palate butperfectly balanced by the crisp acidity. Creamy texture fills the mouth to along finish. Well-structured and deep yet with vibrant citrus fruit. Impressiverichness of fruit as a counterpoint to the acidity. Chewy, textured finish.
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17/20 Julia Harding MW

Decanter

This is the secondvintage from Black Chalk. Jacob Leadley, formerly head winemaker at HattingleyValley, has crafted an impressive blend of the three Champagne grape varieties,with the base wine aged in...
This is the secondvintage from Black Chalk. Jacob Leadley, formerly head winemaker at HattingleyValley, has crafted an impressive blend of the three Champagne grape varieties,with the base wine aged in oak. Lovely precision and purity with some biscuitycreaminess and a depth of mellow fruit - lemon citrus and a suggestion of redberries. Good acidity, not at all jarring. A benchmark for English sparkling. 8g/l dosage.
Read more

- Amy Wislocki

midweekwines.co.uk

Best UK Sparkling Wine, People's Choice Drinks Awards, with its smoothapple and grapefruit foundation embellished by hints of orange.

- Brian Elliott

2016 vintage reviews

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