Exton Park, in Hampshire, has just released its first vintage sparkling wine – a 2011 Blanc de Blancs – who until now have deferred from the trend amongst English winemakers to regularly produce a vintage.
Exton Park winemaker Corrine Seely – who was part of the winemaking team for the first white wine at Chateau Lynch-Bages – believes that in England, because of the unpredictable weather, ‘it would be quite difficult to make a good vintage every year.’
‘Of course you can make a vintage every year – apart from perhaps 2012,’ Seely said ‘but in general, you could make a vintage every year, but what I call a vintage is the finest quality possible. I don’t believe that would be possible to do here every year.’
Only 2500 bottles of the single-vineyard Blanc de Blancs 2011 were made.
Exton Park’s previous releases were non-vintage Brut, Blanc de Noirs and Rosé – all of which were awarded medals in this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards.
Seely credits Exton Park owner Malcolm Isaac for letting her take a gamble in 2011 and order extra vats to make a reserve wine – which requires more time and work to look after.
In 2011, the rainfall was low in the July flowering season, at only approximately 50ml – compared to 120ml in the washout year 2012 – followed by a warm and dry autumn.
This year, the team at Exton Park are also feeling positive about the 2015 harvest, which is due to start on 15th October.
Vineyard Manager Fred Langdale said that the ‘fruit is looking really promising’ and he was feeling ‘quietly confident’ about it– especially after the Met Office has reported that the UK is set for an Indian summer, to last three weeks, with temperatures reaching up to 25 degrees.