It was a very good year

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

LATER this year, a very spe­cial sparkling wine will join the grow­ing cel­lar of fine English va­ri­eties. The Wind­sor Great Park Vine­yard 2014 vin­tage, which will be ready in the au­tumn, is made from grapes grown on the Crown Es­tate.

The Queen joined the ranks of English vine­yard own­ers in 2011, when Laith­waite’s Wine leased a site of just un­der 10 acres in the park. ‘We are de­lighted to be work­ing with [Wind­sor] to re­vive their once-great wine­mak­ing tra­di­tion,’ says David Thatcher, CEO of the on­line wine mer­chant. ‘The Wind­sor Great Park English Qual­ity Sparkling Wine is a great ad­di­tion to our range.’

Laith­waite’s planted the Wind­sor vine­yard with the same grape va­ri­eties that are used for Cham­pagne— Chardon­nay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Me­u­nier—then en­listed the help of lead­ing Sus­sex win­ery Ridgeview to cre­ate a crisp sparkler that could com­pete with the world’s best.

Made ac­cord­ing to the clas­sic French method, the wine is fer­mented twice— first in tanks, then in the bot­tle—and aged for three years be­fore be­ing re­leased to the mar­ket.

The 2014 vin­tage is the sec­ond one Ridgeview and Laith­waite’s have pro­duced; the first har­vest, in 2013, only yielded enough grapes to make a few thou­sand bot­tles, which sold out last Christ­mas.

‘I ex­pect [the 2014 vin­tage] to have some brioche notes, with a lit­tle cherry, some pineap­ple and melon and a bit of vanilla,’ says Ta­mara Roberts, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ridgeview. ‘I think it’s go­ing to be a good rep­re­sen­ta­tion of what English sparkling wine can be like: fruit-driven, ex­u­ber­ant and com­plex.’

Wind­sor Great Park Vine­yard 2014 is now avail­able for pre-or­der through Laith­waite’s (£34.99 per bot­tle, 0333 014 8168; www.laith­waites.co.uk/ wind­sorvine­yard). Carla Passino

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