Charles and Ruth Simpson have been making award-winning wines in the South of France since 2002. In 2012, attracted by the quality of the terroir and the opportunity to become part of one of the most dynamic wine producing regions in the world, they brought their expertise back to the UK, establishing Simpsons Wine Estate. Aspiring to produce the finest quality English wine, they gradually planted 30 hectares of vineyards on the iconic chalk terroir of the North Downs and built a state-of-the-art gravity fed winery. They are members of Sustainable Wines of Great Britain. In 2016, the Simpsons saw their first harvest. With a strong focus on provenance, they produce a highly acclaimed range of exclusively estate-grown still and sparkling wines, including the Chalklands Classic Cuvée 2016, which won a gold medal in the 2019 Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships.
The 2019 growing season was very typical of East Kent with good amounts of sunshine but not the exceptional warmth of 2018. The grapes developed excellent intensity of flavour, balanced by natural acidity. The first half of harvest ran smoothly before rainy spells resulted in few breaks in harvesting. Due to the excellent vineyard sites and diligent canopy management, the quality of fruit overall was of high, leading to distinctive wines that will continue to develop and unfurl with time.
Simpsons Wine Estate is situated in the Elham Valley; an unspoilt seam in the North Downs of Kent where the contours of the land, the climate and the soil are excellent for viticulture. The intensely lime-rich chalk soil forms part of the same chalk ridge that stretches from southern England through the Champagne region and on to Burgundy. The Guyot trained vines are planted at a density of 4,200 vines per hectare with a range of both sparkling and Burgundian clones on either Fercal or 41B rootstocks. They are grown on south facing slopes, ensuring heat accumulation in the day and cold air drainage at night. The vineyard is less than eight miles from the coast, providing a crucial maritime influence insulating the fruit against intense temperature variations. Pruning and harvesting takes place by hand and they are signed up to the WineGB’s Sustainability Scheme.
The estate-grown grapes were hand-picked over a two-week period. Each variety is vinified separately, the grapes were whole bunch pressed and fermented with selected yeasts. Malolactic conversion took place and the wines spent three months in stainless steel tanks ageing on light lees. After a series of tastings, the wines were blended, filtered and bottled to undergo the ‘prise de mousse’. Following the bottle fermentation, the wine spent 20 months ageing on the lees.
The epitome of English elegance, this rich golden sparkling wine has enticing aromas of caramelised pear and floral millefeuille, combined with bright citrus flavours, linear precision and impressive length.
Pinot Noir 60%, Chardonnay 40%.