This English Wine Week, we’re unearthing a handful of bottles to give you an insight into what makes Gusbourne special. First up – and fresh from the Decanter “Best in Show” award ceremony – is our Blanc de Blancs.
For Michel Roux Jr, it’s Soufflé Suissesse; for Clare Smyth it’s Potato and Roe; for Tom Kerridge it’s Slow-Cooked Duck Breast: different signature dishes, which in these Michelin-star hands would be rendered to perfection even if they were cooked blindfold.
And, while these recipes might not be the most elaborate, or the most complex, they each express something about the chef. They hint at approach and philosophy and what – in culinary terms – feels like home.
Can the same be true in the wine world? We think so. And for Gusbourne, our signature style is embodied by our Blanc de Blancs.
“It’s the very best expression of our terroir and our Chardonnay grapes,” says Chief Winemaker Charlie Holland. “Of course, every year brings us something a little bit different, but we aim for a consistent style.” For Blanc, this is purity, elegance and minerality.
We blend this pale-gold vintage wine from Chardonnay grown in both Sussex and Kent, which means it brings together the qualities of both these sites. Freshness and acidity from chalk; richness and depth of flavour from clay. “The subtle differences in altitude and soil give us exciting variations in fruit profiles,” says Charlie. You can find out more about our styles of Chardonnay here.
“It takes months of tasting and blending to create this special wine. It’s then aged on its lees and cork,” he adds. And it’s this ageing process which adds the baked pastry and toasted hazelnut notes which are so morish and complex.
When, earlier this month, the Decanter World Wine Awards announced their Best in Show winner, it was especially gratifying to see Blanc de Blancs 2018 singled out as “a wine of remarkable assurance and accomplishment”.
While there was a lot the judges loved about the wine, it was their comments on acidity which were especially interesting. This is such a key characteristic for fine wine – it allows it to age, it provides structure and backbone and, increasingly, it is becoming a challenge for winemakers to retain.
“Acidity provides the architecture of flavour,” said the judges. “But it’s what is engraved in that acidity which intrigues: orchard fruits combined with an almost severe citrus purity, a seaside freshness, and an unmistakable stoniness, too, which lingers and remains after the fruits subside.”
We are really proud of Blanc de Blancs. If you’re yet to taste it, the 2018 vintage is a wonderful place to start.
You can purchase Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2018 by the bottle or case, and with complimentary delivery, here.