The modern history of Hambledon started when it was purchased by Ian Kellett in 1999, located in Hampshire on the famous chalk downs. The village is doubly famous for being the "cradle" of the game of cricket!
The chalk on which their vines grow was formed on the seabed of the Paris basin some 65 million years ago. The same chalk, with the same Belemnite content, is found in the best Chardonnay areas of the Côtes des Blancs in Champagne and is thought to be a key factor in the quality of the Hambledon wines.
There are currently three main vineyards covering 20 hectares on the slopes of Windmill Down (named after an ancient windmill) around the house. Each vineyard is planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – the three grape varieties most commonly used in the production of Champagne.
Home Vineyard is planted on the steep southeast-facing slope immediately beneath Mill Down House at between 50 and 100m above sea level. The larger Windmill Down Vineyard spreads across the southeast-facing slopes to the west of the house and winery. The third vineyard to the east of the house is, not unsurprisingly, called East Vineyard!
70% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier and 10% and Pinot Noir.
Released in May 2014, the Hambledon Classic Cuvée is an assemblage from the 2011 harvest blended with reserve wines from 2010. The Cuvée and blend has been developed under the guidance of wine maker Hervé Jestin - who was Chef de Caves at Champagne Duval Leroy for over 20 years.
Drink now and over the next 2 years.
Hambledon is located on the South Downs in Hampshire and is England’s oldest commercial vineyard, originally established by Major General Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones in 1952 before a multi-million pound regeneration of the estate by Ian Kellett and his family, who bought the property in 1999.
Intrigued by the properties winemaking heritage Ian undertook extensive research which convinced him that sparkling wines were the future and in 2005 Ian planted a 10-acre ‘test bed’ of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to see which of the 27 different combinations of vine clones and rootstocks gave the best results. Today the Hambledon estate comprises 50 acres of vineyards and a new gravity-fed, state-of-the-art winery - the only one of its kind in the UK.
Again mainly an aperitif, but will work well with mixed canapés and shellfish, classically oysters.
In the press
Gold Medal and English Non-Vintage Trophy- International Wine Challenge 2015
Silver Outstanding- International Wine and Spirit Competition 2016
Silver- International Wine Challenge 2016
Silver- Decanter World Wine Awards 2015 and 2016
"...this blend of the Champagne grapes... is delicious, a fizz that manages to taste English while showing the complexity and nuances of a top Champagne. It's chalky and dry, with subtle bubbles, hints of fresh pastry and citrus and a tapering finish: elegant, refined and understated."
Tim Atkin MW- 90 points
Jancis Robinson MW- 17 points