Founded in 1952, Hambledon Vineyard is the oldest commercial vineyard in the UK. With vines planted by Major General Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones, the vineyard became particularly renowned, with Hambledon wines having been served in the QE2, in British Embassies around the world, in the Houses of Parliament, and even served to President Pompidou, by Queen Elizabeth II, during a visit to Paris.
With a range of award-winning sparkling wines produced in the small Hampshire village of Hambledon, the chalky soil and cool climate are cherished as ideal conditions for producing world-class sparkling wine. Hambledon’s wines have even beaten Champagnes in blind taste tests.
With a blend of 67 per cent Chardonnay, 11 per cent Pinot Noir and 22 per cent Pinot Meunier, mostly from the 2014 harvest, the Hambledon Première Cuvée is produced exclusively from the vineyard’s own estate, with all grapes pre-selected and handpicked. A second selection also took place in the winery prior to pressing, in order to ensure only the most mature grapes were used. These were then underwent a slow-temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks, with 4 per cent of the wines fermented in specially selected French oak barrels to add complexity and structure. Moreover, malolactic fermentation took place to soften the minerality while the wines were also left to rest for six months on fine lees before being blended with the vineyard’s reserve wines before bottling.
The final result is an elegant, complex sparkling wine. Lemon and orange blossom dominate on the nose alongside apricot, white peach, baked apples and lily. Some apple continues on the palate alongside notes of almond and a butter note alongside precise structure, creamy texture and good acidity, while the finish has a mineral, chalky quality with persistent mousse.
Hambledon Première Cuvée is available to order from the vineyard’s website, alongside gift sets including branded Hambleton flutes and a branded bottle stopper.