Chalklands Classic Cuvee 2017
Simpsons Wine Estate
Region: Kent

Tasting Notes

Created from Estate-grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, this traditional method classic cuvée is the epitome of English elegance. Rich gold in colour, it has an enticing caramelized pear and floral millefeuille nose with bright citrus flavours, linear precision and impressive length.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are commonly blended together to produce sparkling wines around the world. The best cuvées are typically made in the traditional méthode champenoise. Wines made in this style can be crisp and fresh-tasting in some examples, steely and mineral-driven in others, or have characteristics of bread, toast and butter. Some of the best wines will have elements of each of these and be rich, integrated and ageworthy. Grapes used in sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir wines are picked earlier than those used in still wines to maximize acidity. The style is therefore suited to cool-climate viticulture.

Elham Valley is an unspoilt seam in the North Downs of the County of Kent, where the contours of the land, the climate and the soil could scarcely be improved upon for viticulture. The intensely lime-rich chalk soil forms part of the same chalk ridge that stretches from southern England to the French Champagne region and on to Burgundy. The English climate may be marginal for viticulture but its relative austerity—where expertly handled—and long, cool ripening period is ideally suited to creating still and sparkling wines with pure variety flavours, elegant acidity and subtly sophisticated aromas.

Simpsons Wine Estate is located in one of the sunniest corners of the British Isles. Proprietors Charles and Ruth have further safeguarded their vines against extremes in climate by selecting sloping vineyards that face almost due south, ensuring heat accumulation in the day and excellent cold air drainage at night. The maritime influence is also crucial to the success of these vines. The property is less than eight miles from the coast on three sides, which helps insulate the fruit against intense variations in temperature.

60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. Grapes were hand-picked over a two week period and fermented separately in stainless steel tanks. All components underwent malolactic conversion and spent three months in tank aging on light lees. After a series of tastings, the wine was blended, filtered and bottled to undergo the ‘prise de mousse’. Following the bottle fermentation, the wine spent 20 months aging on yeast lees prior to disgorgement in January 2020.

Wine Type: Sparkling

Variety: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

Classification: n/a

Orientation: Southern exposure

Appellation: n/a

Gradient: 5%

Soil: Limestone, chalk

Farming Practices: Sustainable

Vinification: Traditional method. Bottled then sealed under crown cap, with their liqueur de tirage. After secondary fermentation completes, each bottle matures for a minimum of two years.

Residual Sugar: 6 g/l

Alcohol: 12%

Malolactic: Yes

Botte Size: 750 ml

Acidity: 3.03

Other Practices: Sustainable