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.
The 2017 vintage was the result of a challenging growing season featuring a damaging atmospheric frost in late April that overall cut yields significantly. May and June saw good sunny conditions, with rain in July, followed by warm sunny conditions into September. Lower crops resulted in grapes which displayed intense flavours and showed great balance leading to excellent wines.
The fruit comes from three vineyard sites: Jenkyn Place Vineyard, located in Hampshire, where the vines were planted in 2004 at 80 to 100 metres above sea level. The soils are greensand, with fractured chalk and produce wines with a rounded fruit profile. Grapes also come from the Storrington Priory Vineyard in West Sussex, which was planted in 2006 on sandy loam soils over chalk and greensand. The vines are planted at 50 metres’ elevation. The Mount Harry Vineyard near Lewes, in East Sussex also produced grapes for this cuvée, from vines planted in 2006, on clay loam over chalk soils at approximately 70 metres above sea-level. The soils are dominated by South Downs chalk which provides superior drainage for the vines, as well as imparting great elegance and finesse to the wines.
A blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. The grapes were harvested at optimal ripeness and pressed in a traditional Coquard basket press. 90% was fermented in stainless steel tanks, where malolactic conversion was encouraged, softening the resulting wine; 10% of the juice was fermented in barrel with partial malolactic conversion. This sparkling wine was made using the traditional method, with the secondary fermentation taking place in the bottle. The dosage was 8.25 g/l.
A classic blend of barrel-fermented Chardonnay and Pinot Noir boasting great purity and elegance, with lemon and apple aromas leading to a palate of delicate stone fruit and refreshingly crisp acidity. This is long, complex and absolutely delicious.
Chardonnay 60%, Pinot Noir 40%.