Mardi Roberts announced that as we have been working with the family since almost the start, we would make a perfect retail partner for the independents sector, we are honoured and so pleased.
Last time I saw winemaker Simon was at the start of this year, at the vineyard, when he teased me with the detail of this wine. He said he wanted to make a wine which tasted like the iconic California wine Au Bon Climat Chardonnay, but with bubbles. It was going to be launched in May/June, but then the world turned itself upside down.
The bottle itself looks impressive and stylish and is in the running for a design award. The livery is stripped back, and the label is made from cherry wood, it looks very classy and gets the oak message across. The wine is made from 100% Chardonnay fruit, from a single vineyard at the winery, if you have visited the Ditchling base before, you would have seen the twenty five year old plants. It's a blend of 2015,16 and the main component, 2017, all three vintages have been aged in oak.
However, this has not resulted in a wine which is all toast and no fruit. The Ridgeview style is still there, with some subtle changes. The oak use is delicate and quite complex, they have used a mixture of different toasts, and different aged barrels from Burgundy and the Loire. This process has added complexity and texture, balanced with the fresh fruit flavours.
Only 2,500 bottles were produced, so get your hands on one while it's still around. The delayed launch date has worked in our favour, as the wine now also has 8 months bottle ageing under its belt, which has added more brioche and spice hints. It has also made the wine eminently drinkable, just in time for Christmas! It has a luxury price tag, but we think it offers great value when lined up alongside other premium english sparkling wines, and of course Champagne.