Our choice of plantings in our vineyard is based on compatibility with the climate, soil and topography, and as chance would have it our vineyard and region are particularly suited to the 3 grapes which are used to make Champagne – or here in England, to make exceptional English Sparkling Wine using the same traditional method. Our chardonnay vines account for over half of our vineyard plantings, and you’ll be able to enjoy their fruits when our first ‘White from White’ is released in a couple of months time, but our ‘White From Black’ is a white sparkling wine made from our black grapes – the Pinots. We wanted to give you an insight on the qualities of these grapes and what they contribute to our wine.
The principal grape in our White From Black, as well as contributing to our upcoming Sparkling Rosé, the Pinot Noir is the real backbone of our wines, giving body and structure to the blends. With its thin skin, resulting in a naturally delicate colour, Pinot Noir is particularly suited to cooler climates; once thought of as a ‘Burgundy grape’, improvements in weather and vineyard management over the years have meant that English and Kent vineyards are now giving France some competition. Almost a quarter of total UK plantings consist of Pinot Noir – and with very good reason. The Pinot Noir grapes bring distinctive aromas of red berries, and flavours of cherries, elderberries and blackberries on the palate.
The 3rd and least well-known in our trio of Sparkling Wine grapes is our Pinot Meunier. Only 4% of our vineyard is planted with Pinot Meunier but that doesn’t take away the fact that it’s an essential component – versatile and bringing something very different from our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.
Pinot Meunier is noticeably different visually from Pinot Noir in our vineyard, as you can see from the photo above – it has a silvery white sheen caused by the fine hairs that cover the leaves. Pinot Meunier is actually a wonderful mutation of the Pinot Noir grapes – one of many, such as Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Although the inner cell layers are mostly identical, the mutation is most evident on the outer epidermal layers
As well as its visual differences, Pinot Meunier also brings its own unique qualities to the mix. Adding bright acidity, deep fruitiness and a roundness of flavours to our wine, Pinot Meunier contributes body and richness to the blend, imparting stone fruit flavours, with hints of honey, walnut and coffee developing as the wine ages.
Now you know your grapes, it's time to try the exceptional English Sparkling Wine we've made from them. As mentioned, we have new wines due for release over the next few months - our 2018 White From White and our 2019 Sparkling Rosé.
But make sure you’re part of our journey from its very beginning, by enjoying our first ever vintage – our 2018 White From Black, made from our Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes.