(2021) An estate that started in the 1990s, one of the very earliest producers, but burst into the limelight by winning a sparkling wine award from Decanter in 2010 when ranged blind agains the world's best traditional method wines. A really pleasing bottle this, blending Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, bright on the nose with citrus-flecked floral aromatics, but underpinned by a nice autolysis, nutty and lightly toasty, before the sweet-fruited palate which is balanced and approachable, some confit lemon intensity and pithy acid structure into the reasonably long finish.
(2021) The very first vintage from this small grower-producer, a boutique operation with vineyards planted in 2015 and working to be sustainable and herbicide-free, the wine currently made at Ridgeview. The blend is 60% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot noir, 20% Pinot Meunier, with a dosage of 6.8g/l. Very foamy mousse and a fairly deep golden tinge to the colour. In a way, a particularly Champagne-like nose, slightly lactic, oxidative, and initially for me not absolutely convincing. A little butter and toast, and nuttiness. In the mouth a great initial impression of sweetness despite the modest dosage, good rosy apple fruit comes through, much nicer on the palate for me, a zippy lime acid line adds a bit of sherbetty spark and the balance is good in the finish.
(2021) Marching to a different beat, this is a wild-fermented and biodynamic wine, and is also 100% Chardonnay. Founded in 2008 by a successful IT businessman with an interest in organics and sustainability. This comes from a very small, five-hectare estate and spends 48 months on the lees and is also made with a Pied de Cuve, the winemaking equivalent of a sourdough starter. Fascinating, creamy and custardy character on the nose, interesting high-toned herbal notes with a deliciously sweet attack to the fruit on the palate, a real lick of salinity and juiciness, making this mouth-watering and gastronomic, mouth-filling but with lovely balance and precision towards the finish.
(2021) One of the newer entrants into the market, a family producer with 10 hectares planted on their family estate in 2010 and first vintage 2014. Planning permission has just been granted to build a winery, but for now the wines are made at Hattingly Valley. Soils are chalk and flint, on south-facing gravelly clay. In crop rotation for 150 years, so soil in top condition. It's a lovely blend of 65% Chardonnay with the two Pinots, quite powerful aromatically, yeasty and biscuity, with a preserved lemon intensity. Mouthfilling mousse, rich again, but fine souring acidity of pink grapefruit and lemon, the peachiness of the mid-palate swept along into the finish.
(2021) Charles and Ruth Simpson of Domaine de Saint Rose in the South of France planted this vineyard, the first harvest of which was in 2016, and also producing a range of still wines. 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, it has a relatively deep colour and nutty, Cox's pippin, earthy and lightly-oxidative quality. On the palate there's a nice sour orange and cooked apple depth to the flavour, a lick of salinity to the acid structure, and the dosage adds some balancing sweetness into the finish.
(2021) Digby was founded by two business partners with a vision of setting up a very high-end négociant business: they do not own vineyards, but work with vineyards in different English areas. They have based their model partly on Californian sparkling wine producers who sell a "whole lifestyle experience," so really trying to engage with consumers with their brand, web site and their story, including a high street store in Arundel. Planted predominantly on greensand, this is 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Meunier with 20% of the Pinot component fermented in oak. The colour is a peachy pink, and aromas of orange and peach are underpinned by a little toast and spice. In the mouth sweet and ripe, but really nicely balanced, the crispness of the rosy apple acidity and fine mousse, a mellow undertow of vanilla, it is long and styish.
(2021) From Cornwall and a very early vintage, the grapes harvested in mid September. This is one for fans of the more pungent, thiol expressive Sauvignons with elderflower and gooseberry to the fore, a little hint of blackcurrant leaf too, just a sense of quite exotic fruit beneath. In the mouth it is tangy with grapefruit and lemon pith up against the mango and peach of the fruit, a nicely dry finish, and a wine delivering pretty good bangs per buck.
(2021) From the clay and sandy loam soils of Appledore in Kent, this all-Chardonnay cuvée comes from a very good year, the harvest completed by 7th October. A small percentage of the blend was fermented in older oak barrels, and it spent a full 42 months on the lees prior to disgorgement. The colour is an attractive pale gold, with a foamy mousse and plenty of very small bubbles rising steadily in the glass. There is a touch of buttery pastry, a fine biscuity and oatmeal sheen, and fruit that has a touch of rich figgy quality, but is mostly about fresh citrus and summer pears. In the mouth, despite a modest dosage of 7g/l, there is an abundant sense of sweetness from the ripe fruit. It's a lovely style this, not at all austere, yet precise and super-fresh.
(2021) This Pinot Noir-led blend (57%) has roughly equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier too, and saw a full 36 months of bottle ageing before disgorgement on 29th January 2020. Light gold, with plenty of effervescence and small bubbles, aromas marry toast, biscuit and a touch of meatiness with vivid lemony fruit. On the palate there's a bracing, sea-spray lick of salty acidity, and though the fruit stays in the citrus spectrum, there's ripeness and creamy texture to keep this enjoyably drinkable.
(2021) A blend of 54% Pinot Noir, 23% Pinot Meunier and 23% Chardonnay, there is only 4g/l of residual sugar in this incisive and dry English sparkling rosé. It's part barrel-fermented and is an 'assemblage', with a small percentage of still Pinot Noir added to the blend before secondary fermentation. After 24 months on the lees, the mousse is strong, and the nose has a real mineral, smoky, taut and small red berry-fruited appeal, a herbal streak only adds to the freshness. In the mouth that dry, mineral and flinty character continues, yes there is red fruit of raspberry and bitter lemon, good length and that racy, very grown-up acid character.