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Corney & Barrow takes first English wine

London wine merchant Corney & Barrow has taken its first English listing after being captivated by the 'structure and power' of the sparkling wines of Wiston Estate in the South Downs.

Wiston Estate Cuvée Brut 2008 [Image:andrewjefford.com]

From early June, the company will be selling a small allocation of Wiston Estate Cuvée Brut 2008 Traditional Method, made by former Nyetimber winemaker Dermot Sugrue.

‘We can no longer ignore England,’ Corney & Barrow commercial buyer Rebecca Palmer told Decanter.com.

‘Obviously there are some impressive wines out there, but we were just blown away [by Wiston] and realised that this place has real promise.’

The Wiston Estate winery was established in 2008, but the estate has been owned by the Goring family since 1743, and is currently run by Harry Goring and his South African wife Pip.

The 16-acre vineyard, on a south-facing chalk escarpment described as ‘similar to the Côte des Blancs’, is planted to the three classic Champagne grape varieties of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.

‘I wasn’t looking for a Champagne-a-like or a Champagne clone,’ Palmer said. ‘We were looking for a wine that we felt showed that England could shine.

‘Of course, because of the soils and because of the climate and because of the grape varieties, there will be some similarities to be drawn with Champagne and there are some structural similarities – but it doesn’t end there and the wines are different.’

Palmer said Wiston’s wines are ‘pure, chalk-grown with structure and power’, and they are ‘serious and not easy wines’.

Describing winemaker Sugrue as ‘intuitive and skilled’, Palmer added: ‘We needed a bit of time to find a partner that we could really work with long-term, who had a similar philosophy about wine.

‘You know when something knocks you on the head and you think wow, that’s just super-special?’

Wiston Estate Cuvée Brut 2008, priced at £32.95 per bottle, will be available in limited quantities from Corney & Barrow from June.

Written by Richard Woodard

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