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 planted 30 hectares of vineyards on the iconic chalk terroir of the North Downs and built a state-of-the-art gravity fed winery. 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.
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 to Burgundy. The grapes come from the Roman Road single vineyard where the Guyot pruned vines are trained on vertical foliage wires to help with canopy management. The Chardonnay vines are Burgundy clone 548 and are planted at a density of 4,200 vines per hectare. 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. Grass cover crops between the rows encourage biodiversity. Pruning and harvesting takes place by hand and they are signed up to the WineGB’s Sustainability Scheme.
Fermentation took place in two 600-litre French oak barrels to add complexity alongside stainless steel tanks, with selected and indigenous yeasts. Full malolactic conversion resulted in a creamy texture. 25% of the blend was matured in new French oak and 25% in older French barrels, with bâtonnage taking place in some barrels, the frequency and duration was tailored to each. The remaining 50% was aged in stainless steel tanks on lees to retain the purity of fruit.
Complex layers of tropical and citrus fruit, subtle butterscotch and flint aromas leads to a palate with ripe, fruit intensity balanced by elegant minerality, fresh citrus notes and touches of cedar.