It’s been seven years in the making, the first sparkling wine to be launched by Alison Nightingale’s award winning boutique vineyard Albourne Estate overlooking the South Downs.
The 2013 Blanc de Blancs, unveiled this May, joins a portfolio of white table wines which are instantly recognisable by their standout labels featuring wildlife found on the 30 acre vineyard.
Alison, who lives on the West Sussex farm with her three daughters and husband Nick, is confident that her latest single vineyard wine – the first of a range of sparkling bottles and featuring a barn owl on its label – will be as popular as her still varieties.
Made with carefully selected chardonnay white grapes, the highest quality cuvée and the same bottle fermentation process as used for Champagne, Alison describes it as having “an elegance and refinement”.
“By using grapes of a single vineyard and a single vintage, our Blanc de Blancs reflects the nuances of place and weather patterns, so creating a true ‘terroir’ wine,” she adds. “It has a subtle taste of almond, brioche and baked apple pastry characters overlaying fresh, crisp fruit aromas.
“It’s been a long haul which has needed a lot of patience, but I’m very pleased with how it has turned out: an intense, but refined and elegant wine.”
Alison planted the 41,000 vines back in 2010, having studied viticulture and oenology after leaving a high powered job in marketing to bring up her family. She has since built herself a reputation with her four white table wines which have been bought from as far afield as New York.
In fact, in the second year of production in 2015, her 2014 vintage Bacchus beat 300 other entries to the accolade of English Wine of the Year. She also produces a White Pinot Noir, an Estate Selection and an oak fermented Cellar Selection.