Quietly acknowledged as a strong vintage year for English Sparkling Wine, 2016 will be remembered for its warm, sun-filled summer and autumn days. Ideal conditions for producing fruit of outstanding quality at Gusbourne’s vineyards in Kent and West Sussex.
Softly rounded, pure and elegant. Fruity, fresh and with natural minerality. All characteristics of many Blanc de Blancs wines made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. It’s a sparkling style favoured by enthusiasts and purists, wine lovers and wine professionals. In fact, Head Winemaker Charlie Holland says this vintage’s delicious roundness makes the 2016 his favourite so far.
At Gusbourne we’ve been releasing award-winning vintage Blanc de Blancs since 2006, with our 2013 release the most awarded to date. And while we’re not ones to make predictions, we are exceptionally proud of our Blanc de Blancs 2016. Like all our vintage wines, it’s a true expression of our terroir, made exclusively from grapes hand-picked in our own vineyards.
The unique conditions of the year – a mild spring and a warm, dry summer – produced a generous abundance of fruit by early August. At which point the vineyard team dropped around half the fruit – a technique that intensifies the flavour and concentration of the remaining grapes in the run-up to harvest, which began in early October.
The winery team then took over with whole-bunch pressing, fermenting – most in stainless-steel tanks and a small amount in old oak barrels to add complexity – and lees-ageing the wine for a minimum of 42 months. And now Charlie, alongside Master Sommelier and Gusbourne Brand Ambassador Laura Rhys, has declared Blanc de Blancs 2016 ready for release.
With a nose of ripe citrus, pink grapefruit and pear, the 2016 follows through with lemon, nectarine and green apple on the palate, alongside a flinty, saline minerality. Further notes of toasted brioche, shortbread and hazelnut add complexity and elegance.
Blanc de Blancs is a style also known for matching exceptionally well with food, from oysters, lobster and fish and chips, to seabass ceviche, new season asparagus and goats cheese tarts. The 2016’s pale golden colour, fine mousse and layered complexity is equally matched with nothing but the right company.
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A wander through our vineyards in the Garden of England provided inspiration for a spectacular bouquet to complement our Blanc de Blancs. Together they’re the embodiment of craft, luxury and celebration.