The English owners of Domaine Sainte Rose in Languedoc-Roussillon are to return to their British roots with the purchase of 90 acres of land near Canterbury and the Kent coast.
The Simpsons at Sainte Rose: ‘a great time to be investing in English wine’
Ruth and Charles Simpson, who bought DomaineSainte Rose in 2002, have now bought farmland in Kent which is currently being used for an arable crop rotation, but which was found in a survey by Stephen Skelton MW to be well suited for viticulture.
Ruth Simpson told Decanter.com they will not plant vines until 2014. ‘[We will] explore our options in terms of clones and rootstock, and…assemble the right team.’ Current plans are to plant the traditional Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to focus on mainly sparkling wines, but Simpson is making no final decisions yet. ‘As more and more people produce quality sparkling wines in England, we must be certain we are creating a point of difference.’
‘Now is a great time to be investing in English wine,’ Simpson continued. ‘There is an established network of viticultural and winemaking expertise, which is essential to supporting new ventures, and the impressive accolades and sheer quality out there proves that English wine is now a serious and credible proposition.’
There are no plans to sell their Languedoc winery, and will split their time between the two – based most likely in Kent for the initial stages of planting and launching the business.
Domaine Sainte Rose will launch a sparkling wine, a 100% Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs from grapes grown at the domaine, in July 2013.
The first vintage of the Kent estate is likely to be released in 2018, with the first crop coming in for the 2016 harvest, followed by 18 months ageing on the lees.
Domaine Sainte Rose won Silver and Bronze at the Decanter World Wine Awards this year, for its Le Marin Blanc Marsanne-Roussane, and for Le Pinacle Syrah.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux