Sussex producer Ambriel releases its first vintage wine

Sussex winery Ambriel has just released its 2010 Blanc de Blancs. The traditional method English Sparkling wine, which has been crafted from hand-selected Chardonnay grapes, is aimed at independent wine merchants and the on-trade, and it is priced around £36 per bottle. Around 6,000 bottles are available.

Ambriel is a family-owned estate and the vineyard was planted in 2008, after a five-year search for the perfect site by owners Charles and Wendy Outhwaite QC, a former barrister. The pair manage the day-to-day running of the estate and control the entire winemaking process and they are about to embark on their eighth consecutive vintage.

Wendy Outhwaite QC said: “The Ambriel Sparkling wines are made entirely from our own production and we don’t vinify for any other winery. Our key winemaking philosophies are: vinification by clone; blind blending with a ‘palate not wallet’ approach; fermentation and ageing of Chardonnay in aged white Burgundy barrels; and finally, a good backbone of acidity, achieved via maximum lees ageing rather than malolactic fermentation or de-acidification.”

Charles Outhwaite said: “We are finally ready to release the 2010 Blanc de Blancs and are especially excited to be launching our first ‘vintaged’ wine, just in time for Christmas. This wine has a restrained dosage of just 6g, as we feel over-sweetening during dosage to mask acidity may upset the balance of the wine.”

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