Exuding a true sense of place, this elegant, single vineyard Chardonnay is created from fruit specifically selected for its maturity and concentration. It displays pineapple and apricot aromas, complemented with gentle, sweet oak, clementine and mixed spice flavours. The palate is beautifully textured and luxurious.
Chardonnay is the world’s most famous white-wine grape and also one of the most widely planted, with the most highly regarded expressions of the variety coming from Burgundy and California. Climate plays a major role in dictating which fruit flavours a Chardonnay will have. Broadly speaking, warm regions such as California tend to give more tropical styles. While many Chardonnays have high aromatic complexity, this is usually due to winemaking techniques (particularly the use of oak) rather than the variety’s intrinsic qualities. Malolactic fermentation gives distinctive buttery aromas. Fermentation and/or maturation in oak barrels contributes notes of vanilla, smoke and hints of sweet spices such as clove and cinnamon. Extended lees contact while in barrel imparts biscuity, doughy flavours.
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 are 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.
Grapes (clone 548) were hand-harvested during the last week of October, pressed, then cold settled for 12 hours. Racked to both barrel and stainless-steel tanks with a high level of solids where fermentation took place via indigenous and conventional yeast strains. Full malolactic conversion. 25% aged in new French oak, 25% in older French oak with periodic bâtonnage. The remaining 50% of the blend stayed on fermentation lees in stainless-steel tanks.