Based in West Sussex, Albourne Estate is a small, 10 hectare, family-run vineyard and winery. The vineyard site was chosen on the all-important qualities of soil type, (green sandstone) aspect, slope, geology and altitude. It doesn’t hurt that the South Downs are a beautiful part of the world to look at too.
Seven different grape varieties are planted with the classic trio of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for the forthcoming sparkling wine and Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Ortega and Bacchus for the still wines. Pinot Noir is also used to make a still wine.
Albourne Estate have kept the essence of the land as a running theme throughout their entire ethos and the winery is a converted grain store and cattle-shed. A feature which I particularly like is the solar-panelled roof. I believe more wineries should adapt this level of environmentally conscious approach.
All of the grapes are hand-harvested to ensure the optimum quality and are then whole bunch pressed to retain freshness and purity of varietal flavour. Albourne Estate’s meticulous nature also mean that they select individual yeast strains depending on which variety is being fermented.
I adore Albourne Estate’s commitment to the environment. Many producers will proudly tell you of their practices and create marketing material around these, but I really feel that Albourne Estate genuinely care and put so much heartfelt passion into everything they do. It comes across that they are not simply doing things environmentally as a marketing tool or even because it creates better wine. They show an immense respect for the environment that they are utilising and give so much back.
For a detailed view of their sustainable activities, please do visit their website: www.albourneestate.co.uk/sustainability
This approach continues with the label designs which show stunning paintings of the local wildlife, including a buzzard, green woodpecker and common blue butterfly. All of these and many more beautiful animals are present in the vineyard and surrounding area. You may even see one on a vineyard tour!
Living so close, yet not having visited I’m definitely adding a vineyard tour on my list of things to do!
I can’t wait to find out more about this fascinating vineyard and will eagerly await the release of their sparkling wine. If it’s anything near as good as their still wines, then the rest of the industry had better watch out!
Bright dominant lifted aromas of green apple, soft floral notes and white blossom. Crisp pear, white peach and a hint of grass with a refreshing zestiness.
Vibrant, juicy white apple and melon flavours burst on the palate alongside a gentle grassy back note. Round and succulent with brilliantly well-balanced acidity. Great structure, weight and balance with good length. Delicious!