(2018) Only the second ever release of Chapel Down's top single vineyard Chardonnay. It's harvested by hand, whole bunch pressed, and fermented with wild yeasts in French oak barrels where it spent nine months on the lees. It has lovely clarity, a sheen of almond and nougat over not too ripe orchard fruit, and is immediately elegant. In the mouth it has very good concentration, good ripeness, an enjoyable tension between sweet peachy fruit and a tangy, orange and lemon acidity. Medium-bodied and staying nicely balanced, it's a keen, lithe Chardonnay of great style, the finished just rounded out with subtle oak notes. Burgundian? That's certainly a fair ballpark in which to place this.
(2018) From the 'heart' of the blend, this is both a vineyard selection and a juice selection, made from the best Chardonnay blocks and only the first 'cut' of the finest juice from the pressing. Fermented in oak barrels with wild yeasts, it has a moderately low dosage of 6g/l. It's such a different beast from the regular Blanc de Blancs, leesy, earthy and 'dirtier' on the nose, which is part of the wild and barrel-ferment character, and makes up in complexity for what it lacks in the BdB's pristine clarity. The palate has that chewy complexity too, mouth-filling and serious, the choice here is not only about price, it's very much about style.
(2017) From Chapel Down's single vineyard on chalky soils next to the Kit's Coty neolithic monument in Kent. It's all-Chardonnay and from and excellent vintage, and partially barrel fermented. Lots of streaming bubbles and a gorgeous nose, a hint of custard cream biscuits, full and generous with ripe apple and a hint of fragrant lime rind. The palate has a full mousse, very easy and approachable sweet fruitiness, but a streaking, pithy lemon and mineral acidity. Long and delicious, but with a serious side.