Almost two decades ago, we planted our first vines at Gusbourne with the intention of making the best-possible English sparkling wine. Back then, England wasn’t known for its still wine, and accepted wisdom was that our climate didn’t allow fruit to ripen enough to craft still Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.
But, year on year, as our vintages became more consistent and riper, we realised that our still wines offered beautiful expressions of our vineyards. Characteristically, our Chardonnay Guinevere is Chablis-esque, with freshness, minerality and acidity balanced by stone fruits, butter and citrus. Its structure and acidity mean it can age gracefully too.
We only make Chardonnay Guinevere in good or great vintages. But each growing season has its own character, whether it’s abundant sunshine giving richer fruit flavours or a cool vintage giving linear minerality.
Our vertical tasting case offers a fascinating insight into the impact of vintage on the flavours of our Chardonnay. It also demonstrates how these wines can age with elegance and poise.
Of course, there’s another factor to consider too. With each passing vintage, we learn a little more about our grapes, soil and how to work best with different vintage conditions. Stylistically, we’ve found that Guinevere really benefits from the use of lees to build in weight and texture, giving roundness to the palate. This works incredibly well as a counterpoint to all that vibrant acidity that’s so essential for structure and age ability.
Laura Rhys, Master Sommelier and our Global Brand Ambassador, recently retasted our Guinevere library vintages, along with the newly released 2021, to give an updated view on this fascinating line-up.
Golden straw in colour, with a generous nose of ripe lemon, mandarin and citrus peel alongside notes of vanilla and clove spice. The palate shows honey citrus, yellow apple and peach skin flavours, with notes of camomile and toasted nuts. The wine is creamy and rounded in the mouth and the smoky mineral notes of its youth remain, alongside more complex flavours of white mushroom and spice from extended ageing in bottle.
Bright gold in colour, with an enticing nose of ripe citrus and orchard fruits, with notes of buttered toast. The palate remains ripe and generous, with green apple, candied peel and white peach, alongside more complex notes of honey, hay and toasted hazelnuts. The palate feels creamy and rich yet remains fresh with a salty-mineral streak on the long finish.
Bright golden in colour, with a nose brimming with citrus and green orchard fruits. The palate shows more ripe fruit, highlighting nectarine, honey lemon and more tropical notes of pineapple, alongside toasted almonds, soft vanilla and nutmeg spice and lightly buttered toast, building in complexity as it ages. The wine is elegant and linear, with a pure mineral note on the finish.
Pale golden in the glass, an opulent nose shows aromas of lemon, green apple and toasted nuts. On the palate, the wine is elegant and complex, with citrus and tropical fruit notes of lemon, orange peel and pineapple shining through. Alongside the fruit is a striking note of minerality and subtle oak character, with flavours of vanilla, sweet spice and lightly buttered toast, creating a creamy, rounded texture in the mouth and a long, persistent finish.
2020 Barrel Selection
Pale golden in the glass, an intense nose shows aromas of honeyed citrus, stone fruit and delicate spice. On the palate, the wine is rich and rounded, with ripe citrus, orchard and stone fruits, highlighted by lemon, peach and green apple. Barrel fermentation and further ageing brings a creamy texture, with toasted nuts and sweet vanilla notes leading to a long, persistent finish.
A pale golden colour with a nose brimming with aromas of honeyed citrus, orchard fruits and toasted nuts. On the palate, the wine is elegant with a silky texture and flavours of lemon zest, green apple and pineapple. As the wine develops in the glass there are notes of orange blossom, sweet spices and buttered toast leading to striking minerality on the finish.