It was a very good year
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