'Pygmalion' Chardonnay, Blackbook 2018 is no longer available

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'Pygmalion' Chardonnay, Blackbook 2018

White Wine from England
This is Blackbook's 'Grand Cru' wine, sourced from a top vineyard in Surrey, and only produced in special years such as 2018. The wine shows impressive weight, with rich apple and stone-fruit flavours, with 40% new oak bringing spice and aromatics, resulting in a complex English chardonnay, and the best we've ever tasted
is no longer available
Code: EN1591

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • Dry
  • Chardonnay
  • 0% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2028
  • 75cl
  • Cork, plastic

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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Blackbook Winery

If someone told you that they were taking you to visit an English winery, you would be forgiven for anticipating bucolic scenes, perhaps the South Downs, Kentish Weald or the rolling hills of Gloucestershire, and a small operation, very hands on, hard working and welly wearing.

You might well be surprised, then, to find yourself in London's busy Battersea, just south of the Thames, standing in front of a railway arch under the main line between Clapham Common and Vauxhall. But this is indeed the home of the Blackbook Winery, owned and run by Sergio Verrillo and his wife Lynsey, two Londoners with a passion for wine and the gumption to set up a winery to make the stuff themselves. Now one of four urban wineries within the bounds of London, they have sourced their grapes from various English estates since they set themselves up, taking care to select growers who are as passionate and hard-working as they.

Currently they buy hand-picked, carefully selected grapes from Oxfordshire and Essex, the fruit being transported to the winery in small crates to avoid damage to the bunches. Inside the winery itself there is shiny up-to-the-minute equipment and French oak barrels in which their chardonnay is fermented and their pinot noir matured. A sparkling wine is also made, sold undisgorged under a crown cap as well as under cork after disgorgement. Ex-sommelier Sergio has many stamps in his passport from his time travelling the world, gaining winemaking experience at prestigious...
If someone told you that they were taking you to visit an English winery, you would be forgiven for anticipating bucolic scenes, perhaps the South Downs, Kentish Weald or the rolling hills of Gloucestershire, and a small operation, very hands on, hard working and welly wearing.

You might well be surprised, then, to find yourself in London's busy Battersea, just south of the Thames, standing in front of a railway arch under the main line between Clapham Common and Vauxhall. But this is indeed the home of the Blackbook Winery, owned and run by Sergio Verrillo and his wife Lynsey, two Londoners with a passion for wine and the gumption to set up a winery to make the stuff themselves. Now one of four urban wineries within the bounds of London, they have sourced their grapes from various English estates since they set themselves up, taking care to select growers who are as passionate and hard-working as they.

Currently they buy hand-picked, carefully selected grapes from Oxfordshire and Essex, the fruit being transported to the winery in small crates to avoid damage to the bunches. Inside the winery itself there is shiny up-to-the-minute equipment and French oak barrels in which their chardonnay is fermented and their pinot noir matured. A sparkling wine is also made, sold undisgorged under a crown cap as well as under cork after disgorgement. Ex-sommelier Sergio has many stamps in his passport from his time travelling the world, gaining winemaking experience at prestigious estates that include de Montille in Burgundy and Calera in California, and he is putting it to good use here.

This may be unlikely surroundings but the wines are uncommonly good, as illustrated by the chardonnay. The fruit is from a single vineyard, naturally fermented in Burgundian oak barrels before a further 7 months ageing on the lees, and it is then bottled unfined and unfiltered.
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2018 vintage reviews

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