Sue Ray Uncorked
Ridgeview Wine Estate - 8 September 2020
Fragbarrow Lane, Ditchling Common, Sussex BN6 8TP
This was my first visit to Ridgeview and one of my first winery visits after the Covid-19 lockdown had been lifted. It was a gorgeous sunny Tuesday in September; a perfect day!
Ridgeview is located in the beautiful South Downs National Park, near the pretty village of Ditchling in Sussex.
The Ridgeview story begins in 1995 when Mike and Chris Roberts set about realising their dream to create world class English sparkling wines. More than 20 years later, production has increased to over 250,000 bottles, exported all over the world.
With the focus on the traditional Champagne varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, vines were planted, underground cellars excavated and a state of the art winery was created.
Headed up by CEO, Tamara Roberts and her brother, Simon, who is Head Winemaker, Ridgeview has achieved notable awards in its short history. Voted “Best Sparkling Wine in the World – Decanter 2010”, Ridgeview wines have been served at No.10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace State Banquets. One of their signature wines, Bloomsbury NV, was the official wine served for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
With the perfect site identified in the foothills of the South Downs, 3 clones of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier were planted on 3 different rootstocks in chalky and clay soils, similar to those found in the Champagne region of Northern France.
The cool climate of Southern England helps grapes retain high levels of natural acidity and produce ripe and fruit forward wines.
Ridgeview is all about minimal intervention. The aim is to let the fruit flavours of the grapes balance with the natural acidity.
All grapes are handpicked and gently pressed to extract maximum flavour. With continual investment in modern machinery, every element of production takes place on-site and is subject to strict quality controls.
Ridgeview is one of the few estates in England with its own underground sparkling wine cellars. It is here that the all important secondary fermentation and lees ageing process takes place to create high quality English Sparkling wines, which are then aged in the cellars until the time is right for release.
Bloomsbury NV - £30
Chardonnay • Pinot Noir • Pinot Meunier
Chardonnay dominates this pale gold, fresh, light aperitif style sparkling blend. With aromas and flavours of white peach, ripe pear and citrus, this wine has hints of honey and a long finish. With time in the glass, it becomes rich and creamy. Extremely elegant.
Cavendish NV - £30
Pinot Noir • Pinot Meunier • Chardonnay
Cavendish is dominated by red fruit. Red berries seem to burst out of the glass and dance on your tongue. An extremely elegant blend, with added depth and complexity, this wine is fresh, with great acidity, a good backbone and a long finish.
Blanc de Blancs 2015 - £60
With very pronounced aromas of brioche and French toast, this beautiful medium gold sparkling wine exudes stone fruit and tropical aromas, including peach, pineapple and lychee. Rich and creamy from the lees ageing, but with balanced acidity, this is a full bodied food wine. With a very fine mousse and another long lingering finish, this is simply stunning.
Blanc de Noirs 2014 - £50
Pinot Noir • Pinot Meunier
Blanc de Noirs is only produced in excellent vintages. With a good structure, dominant red fruits – redcurrants, red cherry and strawberry – this has excellent acidity and a creamy finish. Another long finish. This is a perfect example of a well balanced rich and elegant wine.
The Wine Garden:
We had a wonderful lunch in the Wine Garden and shared a couple of platters: Rebel Charcuterie - a selection of Brighton Salami, Coppa Collar and Wild Garlic Lonza with olives, cornichons and breadsticks, plus the Sussex Cheese platter - Molecomb Blue, Seven Sisters and Lord of the Hundreds, served with crackers and chutneys. Alongside this, some tasty Sussex Best Sourdough and Rosemary Focaccia with Southdown Butter.
To finish, some amazing Salted Caramel Gelato and a cafetière of Backyard coffee!
I have always enjoyed tasting (and drinking!) Ridgeview wines but this was my first chance to visit. The vineyard and Wine Garden are just stunning.
Ridgeview are harvesting right now, so not currently open to visitors, but do check them out either later in the year or early next year. They regularly run a number of tours, or you can simply drop in for a tasting or a tasty lunch. I thoroughly enjoyed my day with them!
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