The Notebook

First tastings of the 2013 wines

First tastings of the 2013 wines

Hervé Jestin, our head winemaker, flew over from France earlier this week to join us for a tasting of the vins clairs from the 2013 vintage to review the different vineyard parcels and prepare for racking.

The 2013 wines have now finished going through the malolactic fermentation so the time was perfect to do some serious tasting to evaluate the potential quality of this year's vintage. Hervé was most impressed with the quality and mouthfeel of the wines. The overall acidity is beautifully firm and crisp, but what is really exciting is the combination of this acidity with the excellent ripeness levels of the grapes, as the sugar and acidity levels are the two most important factors in making sparkling wine.

We decided to make some trial blends in preparation for the main Hambledon cuvée assemblage, which will take place in April. After tasting a few different combinations of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir we decided to experiment by adding a little reserve wine to one of the blends to see how it affected the depth and complexity at this very early stage. Ian chose a bottle of reserve wine from the 2008 harvest - and the result was a revelation! This type of tasting really underlines the potential for Multi-vintage blends in the UK to create a cuvée of which the sum is greater than the individual parts. The addition of reserve wines helps us to create a more balanced final cuvée by bringing more roundness and complexity to the blend, complimenting the naturally high level of acidity from the younger wines. We are now really looking forward to the final assemblage process in the spring. Stay tuned to find out more!.....