Ideal weather conditions in 2020 have meant expectations are running high for the first vintage of Louis Pommery England created from their own grapes, grown on a chalky, south-facing hillside near Winchester.
Just 12.5 hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier – the Champagne grapes – were planted at Pinglestone Estate Hampshire in 2017 and 2018 by the French Champagne house Vranken-Pommery, and the fermented juice of those grapes are now being bottled for the first time. We are told these first Pinglestone musts show balance and beautiful freshness, and the aromatics are fine and promising.
While these vines have been establishing themselves Louis Pommery England have been sourcing grapes, mainly from Hampshire, to produce the first English sparkling wine from a Champagne house.
Clément Pierlot, Champagne Pommery Chef de Cave and in charge of the winemaking of Louis Pommery England, commented:"This first vintage was predicted to be exceptional, but it is way beyond our expectations! The favourable Spring weather resulted in early bud break. The dry and sunny Summer weather facilitated the ripening of the grapes, allowing picking to start earlier in the season than usual. We were rewarded with marvellous healthy bunches of Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay with optimal maturity levels.’’
UK CEO Julien Lonneux added: “We are excited to start this new adventure with Louis Pommery England. It was a momentous occasion to have been the first Champagne house to release an English sparkling wine back in 2018, and since then it has won many awards, establishing itself as one of the best English sparkling wines on the market. With such incredible grape quality coming from the first harvest, we are looking forward to seeing what the next couple of years will bring.”
What will the future bring? Lonneux was not keen to look too deeply into the crystal ball, but he was excited by the prospect of a newly independent Britain forging new deals across the world. "Sustainable international growth will be key" he said, "particularly in countries where there is a taste for expensive Champagne or sparkling wine. Britain has a great reputation for high quality products and there are many markets where he sees demand for Louis Pommery." Japan, USA, Canada and Australia are likely to be growing markets, while Scandinavia is now on their radar, following success in Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Belgium.
The first vintage of Pinglestone Estate is expected to be released in 2023.
Louis Pommery England has characters of green apple, fresh lemon and lime, and honeyed stone fruits with well-integrated bubbles and a delightful mineral finish. Available at Ocado and Majestic, £39.99.