(2016) An unusual rosé sparkling wine, made from 100% Hampshire-grown Pinot Meunier, which winemaker Corinne Seely concluded was good enough and mature enough for this bottling as the vineyard passed its first decade since being planted. Though it comes from a single year (2014) it is being sold without a vintage date. It's a subtle and very refined style this - not the place to come if you are seeking a strawberry-scented, softened style of pink fizz, for this is bone-dry and taut, small redcurrant and apple fruit notes, bags of acidity and a clean, linear palate showing a crisp, racy mousse. Not showy, but very good.
(2015) Lovely gentle peachy-pink colour and streaming bubbles. Made from the two Pinots, with colour coming from a few hours in the nitrogen-sparged press. A little earthiness and damp forest floor leafiness. The palate has small red berries and a lovely gentle strawberry, then more keen, sweet but tart raspberry fruit, with juicy acidity and a real mineral, almost ozone/seaside freshness. The refined fruit sweetness is lovely against pure acidity into the finish. £28.95, Exton Park Wines
(2011) A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the chalk slopes of Hampshire, this new label is a project by Christian Seely, Managing Director of Axa Millésimes and his friend Nicholas Coates, a retired City executive. Soon a blanc de blancs and possibly other cuvées will join the portfolio, but this first release for July 2011 is already causing a stir, not just because of an excellent reception for the quality of the wine, but because the pair have proposed 'Britagne' as a new generic term to describe British sparkling wines, much like the French have 'Champagne'. I have just tasted this wine and thought it was quite beautiful, with a gossamer light construction, pale in colour with scents of rose-hips and strawberry, but a fabulously vibrant palate which teases with sweet fruitiness and its very fine mousse, before ravishing acidity through to the finish. One of the great English sparkling wines in its first release.
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