Sugrue South Downs is the personal project of celebrated English sparkling winemaker Dermot Sugrue. Sugrue has been the winemaker behind many of England’s best sparkling wines for more than 10 years. Previously the winemaker at Nyetimber, he left in 2006 to establish the Wiston Estate Winery. The same year he also planted a one hectare vineyard in Storrington Priory which has been in full production since 2009, producing the highly acclaimed and multi award-winning sparkling wine ‘The Trouble with Dreams’. In 2017, the truly exceptional ‘The Trouble with Dreams 2013’, took the top spot in the Independent English Wine Awards; in 2019, the 2014 vintage was awarded Gold at IWC and more recently, Sugrue was given the highest rating of all English producers by Hugh Johnson in his Pocket Wine Book 2020. In 2023, Sugrue South Downs was named Best Boutique Producer at the WineGB awards.
2016 was characterised as a low yielding vintage, due to frost damage in May. An average fruit set took place, however a warm and dry September resulted in excellent ripening conditions and the fruit was harvested in a perfectly healthy state. The 2016 wines are structured and lean, with ripe acidity and show excellent ageing potential.
The grapes come from the Jenkyn Place single vineyard, in the Hampshire Downs. The vineyard covers five hectares, on land that was previously used for cultivating hops. The vineyards sit on sheltered, chalky, south-facing slopes at 80-100 metres above sea level, with greensand soils over marlstone, making them ideal for growing the high-quality grapes. The greensand topsoil at Jenkyn Place is scattered with eroded fragments of chalk, creating a distinctive -and possibly unique- combination, which is translated into the wines. Chalky soils are associated with more gently-fruited wines of notable finesse, while greensand soils deliver a rounder fruit profile. The first vines were planted in 2004, with further vines added in 2007 and 2010. The vines are grown traditionally with double Guyot training, and sustainable methods preserve the biodiversity of the environment. The grapes are hand-picked.
The grapes were carefully selected and whole-bunch pressed to obtain the juice, which was fermented with selected yeasts in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with 20% Pinot Noir red wine to produce the delicate pale pink colour. The wine did not go through malolactic conversion, resulting in a crisp style. Ageing took place in stainless steel tanks for nine months to retain the purity of fruit and the secondary fermentation took place in the bottle. Dosage: 9 g/l.
Exquisite aromas of orange peel and red apple layered with hints of Viennoiserie lead to a striking palate with effortless balance of juicy freshness and mellow ripeness. The slender palate combines creaminess and elegance, a stunning gastronomic rosé.
Pinot Noir 50%, Chardonnay 30%, Pinot Meunier 20%.
95 Points, Falstaff, 2023