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Hambledon Première Cuvée Brut, Hampshire NV

Sparkling Wine from England
An assured showing from this Hampshire favourite, which has triumphed in many a blind tasting over the years both inside and outside of The Society’s tasting room. Fans of fuller, richer styles of fizz will find an enormous amount to enjoy. A wine of great breadth and finesse.
Original price: £43.00 Sale price: £38.50 Bottle
Original price: £258.00 Sale price: £231.00 Case of 6
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Code: SG2411

Wine characteristics

  • Sparkling Wine
  • Dry
  • Pinot Noir Meunier Chardonnay
  • 12% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • 75cl
  • Champagne cork
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Buyer Matthew Horsley tells us about Hambledon Première Cuvée Brut, Hampshire NV.

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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Hambledon

Hambledon is England's oldest vineyard still in production, having their first vineyard planted in 1952 and with none other than the famed Champagne house, Pol Roger, as their early advisers.

After many years as a pioneer of English winemaking the estate rather lost its way in the 1980s and ‘90s but has been given a new and very promising lease of life by former City businessman (and oenology graduate of Plumpton College) Ian Kellett.

Ian is very much a man on a mission, using his business experience as an equity researcher on food and drink businesses to plan for a future in which English sparkling wine will give Champagne a lung-bursting run for its money.

Since Ian bought the historic estate in 1999, millions of pounds have been spent to plant extensive vineyards with the best clones of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier, grafted on to a variety of rootstocks to establish what works best on the chalk soils. The investment also paid for the development of an absolutely state-of-the-art winery and maturation facility, multi-story and entirely gravity fed.

As well as making a study of the soils at Hambledon, which he believes are perfect for making high-quality sparkling wines, he has thoroughly examined climate data for the past 35 years around the Champenois city of Reims, and making comparisons with Hampshire. Using the data he gathered he has opted to plant mostly with chardonnay, noting that most of the Côtes des Blancs in Champagne, the name of which tells you...
Hambledon is England's oldest vineyard still in production, having their first vineyard planted in 1952 and with none other than the famed Champagne house, Pol Roger, as their early advisers.

After many years as a pioneer of English winemaking the estate rather lost its way in the 1980s and ‘90s but has been given a new and very promising lease of life by former City businessman (and oenology graduate of Plumpton College) Ian Kellett.

Ian is very much a man on a mission, using his business experience as an equity researcher on food and drink businesses to plan for a future in which English sparkling wine will give Champagne a lung-bursting run for its money.

Since Ian bought the historic estate in 1999, millions of pounds have been spent to plant extensive vineyards with the best clones of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier, grafted on to a variety of rootstocks to establish what works best on the chalk soils. The investment also paid for the development of an absolutely state-of-the-art winery and maturation facility, multi-story and entirely gravity fed.

As well as making a study of the soils at Hambledon, which he believes are perfect for making high-quality sparkling wines, he has thoroughly examined climate data for the past 35 years around the Champenois city of Reims, and making comparisons with Hampshire. Using the data he gathered he has opted to plant mostly with chardonnay, noting that most of the Côtes des Blancs in Champagne, the name of which tells you that chardonnay is planted extensively there, is north-facing, the coldest of exposures, offering encouragement in the cool grape growing climate of southern England.

Little, if anything, has been left to chance here, including luring skilled and experienced winemakers from Champagne, such as Hervé Jestin, winemaker at the famous house of Duval-Leroy, Antoine Arnault and Didier Pierson. Ian Kellett is enthusiastic and some might say visionary, putting his and his investors’ money where his mouth is and producing superb wine.

It is a relentless drive for quality and absolute perfectionism which is what has driven Hambledon to become one of the finest producers in the country.
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JancisRobinson.com

such impressivecomplexity! Really instant and satisfying flavours of cream, apple, bread,brioche, hard cheese and jasmine. Sheer pleasure, and with excellentdevelopment already. Superb.

- Richard Hemming

decanter.com

A very exciting, broad and rich English sparkling wine from a producer founded in 1952. As Hambledon is the oldest commercial vineyard in the UK, it has great stores of reserve wines, meaning this ...
A very exciting, broad and rich English sparkling wine from a producer founded in 1952. As Hambledon is the oldest commercial vineyard in the UK, it has great stores of reserve wines, meaning this flagship has creamy, nutty and brioche-like autolytic notes. A fine mousse and a full yet elegant, lively palate delivers flavours of juicy green apple, oyster shell minerality and lifted orange blossom. Tina Gellie 
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92/100

The Mail on Sunday

Wine of the week: Thebest all-nighter for New Year's Eve, like an everlasting lemony sabre. 

- Olly Smith

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