Vineyards of Hampshire at 67 Pall Mall
There was no way that we were going to pass on the chance to attend the annual Trade and Press Tasting for Vineyards of Hampshire at the iconic 67 Pall Mall in London. An opportunity to shine some light on Hampshire’s finest wines also provided an excellent way to brighten up a cold winter’s morning.
Our objective was to converse with producers, to build on existing relationships and of course, to taste the wines they were showcasing. The event also allowed us the chance to see how the treasured wines of 2018 were coming on in tank. After sipping our way through the room and speaking to the Hampshire producers, we can safely say that the wines are progressing wonderfully. We were however, predominantly speaking to sparkling wine producers, which means we will have to be patient to see how they turn out. At least there’ll be plenty to go around when it’s eventually released.
Prior to tasting, we had wondered whether or not this collective group of producers from Hampshire were going to display a distinctive stylistic likeness based on regional influence. Read on to find out our opinions after tasting what was on offer.
The producers present at the tasting were as follows:
Raimes English Sparkling - @raimesbubbly / www.raimes.co.uk
Jenkyn Place - @jenkynplace / www.jenkynplace.com
Hattingley Valley - @hattingleywines / www.hattingleyvalley.co.uk
Hambledon - @hambledon_vineyard / www.hambledon.co.uk
Exton Park - @extonparkvineyard / www.extonparkvineyard.com
Danebury - @daneburyfizz / www.danebury.com
Cottonworth Wines - @cottonworthwines / www.cottonworth.co.uk
Black Chalk - @blackchalkwine / www.blackchalkwine.co.uk
Collectively, the wines showed us that the Hampshire region is brilliantly diverse. In terms of size, this region boasts a selection of boutique vineyards with less than 10 acres under vine, to much larger scale operations producing volumes of wine set for the export market.
One theme that was continuous throughout the tasting was the focus on well balanced, fruit driven styles complimented with a solid backbone of acidity. Oak influence was minimal on most of the wines, which meant that they retained those fresh stone/citrus fruit and floral characteristics. It also meant they were lean and crisp in style. For us, the dark horse of the day was the Pinot Meunier. An increasing amount of winemakers have begun incorporating it into their blends as the prominent variety. We felt that this led to broader wines with a prettier nose and a weightier palate.
On the whole, we were extremely impressed with all of the wines showcased. However, we would have loved to see more of a focus on still wines. Whilst sparkling wine has cemented itself as the flagship industry style, there are some stunning examples of still wine being produced in the UK and we would love to see the Vineyards of Hampshire add some more names to the still wine scene.
With regards to the ‘regional stylistic display’ of these Hampshire wines, there was without a doubt a tie between the styles. We are not yet certain that this is entirely down to regional geographic influence. With a Sussex PDO already in operation, we wondered whether this may also be part of the agenda for the Vineyards of Hampshire.
The production of sparkling wine is dependent on variable steps such as building a wine through time on lees, ageing, blending and dosage. For this reason, geographical traits can become somewhat distorted. What is clear is that the fruit grown on these Hampshire sites possess all of the attributes needed for an incredible base wine. From then on producers are able to define their own unique styles of wine.
The people who have worked on these wines deserve a mention as they all exude passion. As always, we were welcomed by many dedicated individuals who couldn’t wait to tell us more about their wines, in particular the excellent 2018 vintage. It’s the stories of these people and their determination that makes this such an exciting wine region. You can find out more about them yourselves via www.emergingvines.co.uk/producers
The producers represented by The Vineyards of Hampshire are very well supported by some dedicated names in the English Wine Industry. We were delighted to be able to catch up with the likes of Emily Lambert (Epoch), Sorcha Holloway (Away With Wine), John Mobbs (Great British Wine), Jamie Goode and Joe Fattorini. It was great to see so much passion, dedication and support for the industry. It was a brilliant event that was carefully thought out and hosted in a classic venue so we would like to thank Vineyards of Hampshire for having us.
You can expect to see some of these wines represented in our upcoming portfolio. We would of course encourage you to visit all of these producers when you’re next in Hampshire!