Gravel Castle Chardonnay 2018
One sip of the Simpsons Wine Estate’s unoaked Gravel Castle Chardonnay 2018 instantly brings to mind Chablis, partly because of the immense quality, but also due to the minerality and laser-like lemon and lime imparted by the Burgundy clone vines planted on chalky soils. Simpsons Wine Estate’s ethos is not to make something quintessentially English, but to consistently make the finest wines possible in Kent. And as you dive deeper into this wine’s fresh blossom, crunchy pear and tropical fruit sorbet flavours, with its rich texture coating your mouth luxuriously, it becomes apparent the Simpsons are probably the finest still winemakers working in the UK today.
On visiting the Simpsons Wine Estate – which was bought in 2012, planted in 2014 and opened by Oz Clarke in 2016 – it’s the astonishing attention to detail that strikes you. A recent study by East Anglia University to identify the prime location for vineyards in the UK stopped short of giving exact coordinates for fear of the impact on land prices, but hinted that the very best place was somewhere near Canterbury. When you look at Simpsons’ vineyards, it’s hard not to think they’ve found the magical plots. This area of the North Downs has some of the highest sunshine hours in the UK, their slopes are perfectly positioned to optimise sun capture and protect from winds and frosts, the chalky soils are on the same seam that runs from Champagne, and the maritime influence of the coast being just eight miles away results in a long, slow ripening season that produces immensely complex grapes. While most English wineries use sparkling wine clones for their still wines, Simpsons use clones much like the ones you’ll find in Chablis or Central Otago that are intended primarily for still wines; they bring in experts from France at great expense to help with planting, bottling, labelling and disgorgement; they employ top-of-the-line technology from their oxygen-free press to their in-house analytical tools; their fining is all vegan friendly; and finally, but most importantly, their winery is fitted with a spiral slide so that all visitors leave with a smile on their face. If you needed any further endorsement, then it’s worth pointing out that Taittinger have recently planted vineyards in Kent, and guess who they turned to process some of their first grapes? You’ve guessed it: Simpsons Wine Estate.
£2.47 per 100.00ml
SKU No.: 3054897
Style No.: 751808
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