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.
2021 was an unusually cold vintage with multiple frost episodes during May and early June, resulting a delayed season. This was coupled with a cold and wet growing season. The harvest was one of the latest in recent memory with the first grapes arriving to the winery in late October and the last arriving close to the third week of October. The colder-than-average season resulted in lower alcohol wines with beautiful tension.
The estate is situated in the Elham Valley; an unspoilt seam in the North Downs of Kent where the contours of the land, climate and 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 Guyot trained vines are low-yielding (35 hl/ha) Burgundian Pinot Noir clone 115 and 777, which are grown on either Fercal or 41B rootstocks. 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 within the vineyard. Pruning and harvesting takes place by hand and they are signed up to the WineGB’s Sustainability Scheme.
The grapes were carefully hand-sorted and destemmed directly into fermenters via gravity. Fermentation took place with selected yeasts, with pumping over once a day for two weeks. A proportion of the blend was vinified using the traditional technique of ‘pigeage’ or punching down of the cap. Once fermentation was complete, the wine was drained off its skins into two-year old French oak barrels, where it underwent malolactic conversion. After four months’ ageing in barrels, the wine was bottled in spring 2022.
A garnet-hued Pinot Noir displaying strawberry and sweet spice aromas, with delicate hints of mocha. The elegant tannins are complimented by ripe red cherry flavours, tangy acidity and soft, fine tannins.
Pinot Noir 100%.
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