Hambledon Vineyard Classic Cuvee Brut, Hampshire Sparkling Wine

Ah Hambledon.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.”

Never have Shakespeare’s words been more true! Hambledon is my favourite English Sparkling wine – I have shown a Hambledon at many a wine tasting, I served it at Christmas, I take it to parties and, hopefully, if I can swing it with my wedding venue, we will be serving Hambledon at our wedding next year. To be honest, if circumstances had been different, I totally would have got married there too! For me, it is perfection.

Hambledon vineyard is situated in the little village of Hambledon in Hampshire. It’s a beautiful little village, quintessentially British and is the ‘Cradle of Cricket’ where, in 1750, Hambledon Cricket Club was formed and grew to be the foremost cricket club in England. It’s peaceful and there are vines and farmland as far as the eye can see.

​There has been a vineyard on the site since 1952 when Major General Sir Guy Salisbury Jones, a keen wine lover and Francophile, decided to plant some vines.  With help and advice from friends at the Champagne House Pol Roger (Churchill’s favourite Champagne house), Hambledon went from strength to strength: it was served on the QE2, at British Embassies around the world and was even served in Paris to President Pompidou. This glorious heritage however was cut short in the 1990s when a change of hands saw the decline of the vineyard.  You can see some wonderful photographs from this golden era of winemaking at Hambledon on their website.

Ownership of Hambledon moved to Ian Kellett in 1999. Ian is a wine lover and, after much research, he decided that planting the Champagne grape varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) would yield the best results. The company was up and running by 2010 and 2011 saw the appointment of wine maker Hervé Jestin, one of Champagne’s leading chefs de cave. Since then Hambledon has once again flourished, producing some of the finest Sparkling Wine in England.  You can read more details on this story on their website.

You can visit Hambledon today (as I did in August 2017) – either to visit the vineyard, to attend an event, or do some WSET training with the wonderful Katrina. Their success has meant that they are now building a special visitor centre on the grounds which, if you’re interested in the future, will also be the focal point of their weddings!  Contact the events team to find out more.

Disclosure:  In no way have I been paid or encouraged by Hambledon to write this piece.  I truly am a Hambledon groupie, fan-girl and enthusiast, pure and simple!  To be fair, just as I like a lot of wines from all over the world, I like a lot of different English Sparkling wines: Chapel Down, Camel Valley, Ridgeview Bloomsbury to name a few.  Hambledon though has captured my heart like no other!

So – to the wines then! Hambledon make three exceptional Sparkling wines:  a Classic Cuvée, a Classic Cuvée Rosé and a Premier Cuvée. 

The Classic Cuvée (white label) is a heady mix of 60% red grapes and 40% Chardonnay which, for me combine wonderfully the acidity and red fruit notes.  This is fresh, zingy and with a fine mousse which fizzes gloriously as you sip, I could drink this all day long.

The Classic Cuvée Rosé (pink label) has, maybe surprisingly, only 10% red grapes and 90% Chardonnay.  The strawberry notes, combined with a buttery softness make this the most English of English Sparkling wines – Strawberries and Cream in a glass, it is a garden party, it is an English Summer, it is beautiful.

The Premier Cuvée (blue label) is the crowning glory of the vineyard and is very long on the finish, very dry, very complex.  It isn’t just brioche and apple, it is a million things besides:  nutty, citrus, floral and zingy – you will not be disappointed.

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