TN Mystery parcel of English Sparkling Wine in Majestic

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Tom Cannavan, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    Made by Hambledon from a single vineyard, but Majestic signed an NDA about the exact origins, including composition and age of the blend for a new 7,000 bottle parcel of English Sparkling Wine that's just gone into stores. I have my my own guesses/conclusions about it, as detailed in my Wine of the Week review, but if anyone else tastes it I'd love to know yours. For me obvious extended time on the lees, and really delicious.

  2. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    Interesting suggestion from a friend of mine that it might be from Steven Spurrier's vineyard, but I have no knowledge of that.
  3. I thought Spurriers vineyard was in daaarset not Hampshire.
  4. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    Aah - unreliable friend. I should have checked :)
  5. Mr. Spurrier's fizz is made at Furleigh (usually).
  6. Not to sure about the color but seems to deliver on the palate.
  7. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    Bob, I think it's very much a style you will either love or hate in that it is rich and quite mature, not everyone's style of Champagne/sparkling wine, but for me it is delicious and not at all over-mature. In many ways it is Majestic rediscovering some of the magic of their first "special parcels" of numerous mature German wines of very good quality: this feels like a genuine secret discovery, whereas many of their recent special parcels have just felt like any other own label wine.
  8. I like maturity in my Champagnes so this sounds very nice Tom. I am intrigued though as to why Hambleton wouldn't have released this wine under their own label considering how well it has developed in bottle. Any theories?

  9. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator


    I only have theories as they have stuck to their guns in releasing no information, but I suspect it was made by Hambledon, but as contract winemakers, on behalf of someone else who owns the vineyard: there are many vineyards in England, but relatively few wineries, so lots of different vineyards have their fruit made into wine by someone else. There are over 500 vineyards under different ownership in England, but only around 100 wineries.
  10. It could be the remaining cellar stock of Meonhill. The tasting profile makes it sound rather like it, rather than Hambledon's usual lines which are much tighter on release.

    If so, it's a nice wine, but it doesn't last for ever.
    Mark Carrington likes this.
  11. Tom, that makes eminent sense and I should have thought of that. Of couse a contract winemaker couldn't release it under their own name, never mind mentioning the vineyard which doesn't belongs to them. I'm reminded of the time when I was at the cellar door of Bleasedale in Langehorne Creek. They had on tasting a Barossa or McLaren Vale wine with an annonymous-like label and it was explained to me that they undertook the contract winemaking but the owners didn't come through with payment so they had decided to label and sell it themselves in order to recover their costs. Maybe a similar situation here.

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  12. Does anyone else find these "secret" wines as annoying as me.

    I just see them as a marketing gimmick to sell stuff that would be difficult to sell under the name of the producer (or the producer would be ashamed to see under their name).
    David Crossley likes this.
  13. Me too.
  14. And me. The awful Naked Wines model that has laid waste to the once respectable Majestic brand.
  15. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    I don't think this has anything at all to do with the "awful Naked Wines model."
  16. Maybe not this wine, Tom, but that is unquestionably where Majestic is heading.
  17. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    As I said nine or 10 posts above: "this feels like a genuine secret discovery, whereas many of their recent special parcels have just felt like any other own label wine."
    Leon Marks likes this.
  18. Certainly, Tom, I had no wish to cast aspersions on your judgement. It's just that being able to see Majestic from my back window I feel their decline very keenly.
    David Crossley likes this.
  19. Having seen, tasted and bought some Meonhill last year on a (really great) visit with my family, this is my bet. A very long time on lees if I remember rightly. My last bottle has a lot of sediment which I thought was weird (not just tartrates). I thought it needed drinking up but YMMV.
  20. Nice deduction Ian - it is indeed Meonhill! The wirehood gives it away (see attached)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
    Ian Black and Uillaim Tait like this.
  21. Makes Majestic's Non-Disclosure Ageement a bit of a waste of time!
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  22. What has happened to Meonhill then? Are they no more?
  23. Hambledon bought the vineyard
  24. Quoting BBR
    "Following Hambledon’s acquisition of Meonhill, Didier has become part of the Hambledon team and remains responsible for the development of the Meonhill cuvées to ensure that they are brought to you as a completed expression of his wine-making skills and vision. The resulting wines are well made, beautifully matured and have a harmonious balance of minerality from the chalk soils and autolytic character from the five years aging. We hope you enjoy them."
    My theory is that this is a parcel that has drifted into "no man's land" acquiring too much maturity as it was left in the transitional acquisition period (almost neglect!) that led to it being of a unique character which did not comply to the style of any of the "two houses" so to speak. Hence the sale to Majestic without a brand. The "Non-disclosure" as to the origin of the parcel could have been necessary if the acquisition was in a sensitive stage and there was need not to make it public knowledge until negotiations were completed and sale agreed. There may have been pressure on Meonhill to liquidate the parcel as a condition before the acquisition could be consummated!
  25. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    And confirms it is an 'old disgorged' wine with bottle age, as it presumably it has Meonhill caps because it was disgorged before the sale in early 2014 - Hambledon would surely have used their own caps if they'd disgorged it.

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