Yesterday Alex and I met up with our sparkling winemakers at Litmus Wines, together with Stephen Skelton MW, to taste the base wines from the 2014 vintage in order to decide what sparkling wines we would produce. In Champagne this process is called Assemblage.
There were many wines to taste; first and second pressings from the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, as well as small amounts of Pinot Gris, and a biodynamic Chardonnay. And of course we mustn't forget Monty's Pet Nat!
We were delighted with all the wines, especially the Pinot Meunier which Stephen was particularly impressed by. 2014 was a very good year for English wines, with no frost, good fruit set and plenty of warm sun (for England!) which has resulted in some excellent wine.
After much debate we settled on producing three quality sparkling wines; a Classic Cuvée made from the first pressings of the traditional Champagne varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, an English Blanc de Blancs produced by blending Chardonnay with the Seyval, and a sparkling Rosé made from Pinot Noir and some Pinot Meunier. These will all be bottled in May for secondary fermentation which will give the wine it's fizz. The wines then mature in the bottle for around two years with the lees to give them character. Most of the wine won't be released until 2017, although we may make a small amount available for Christmas 2016.
We have also decided to make a very limited edition of a still white wine by blending the Pinot Gris with some Pinot Noir. This will be released in May but will only be available to Wine Club members and through the Cellar Door as we will have less than 300 bottles available for sale!
We will be bottling Monty's Pet Nat next week and then tasting Silent Pool Rosé 2014 in February, both of which will be released in May this year.