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 Champagne to Burgundy. The Guyot pruned vines are trained on vertical foliage wires to help with canopy management. The Pinot Noir vines are planted at a density of 4,200 vines per hectare from the revered Burgundy 115 clone. 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 within the vineyard. Pruning and harvesting takes place by hand and they are signed up to the WineGB’s Sustainability Scheme.
Clone 115 was selected to create a more full-bodied style owing to a slight accentuation of tannins, developing into a more luxurious texture. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks where it underwent malolactic conversion and spent three months on its lees imparting a creamy mouth-feel. The wines were blended and bottled to obtain the ‘prise de mousse’. After the secondary bottle fermentation was complete, maturation on the lees lasted two years prior to disgorgement, followed by six months ageing on cork.
Showcasing finesse and balance, with a burnished gold colour and a delicate mousse, this sparkling wine has a luxurious, vanilla cream and fine pastry nose, with flavours of fresh wild strawberry, toasted brioche and a smooth elegant finish.
Pinot Noir 100%.