As the beautiful blossoms are in full bloom and the weather turning (slightly) warmer, I was intrigued to see what was happening to our English vines.
On the day super-cute Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born, we took a break from staring at the Lindo Wing doors (waiting for Kate, Wills & Charlotte to make an appearance), and visited Bluebell Vineyard Estates, a beautiful family run vineyard in East Sussex.
We met the lovely Colette, who manages Bluebell Vineyard. Immediately, we were whisked down to the budding vines – an exciting but also vulnerable time for the crop.
Originally a pig farm, Bluebell diversified into a vineyard in 2005. They planted the classic Champagne grape varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with the main aim to produce fantastic English sparkling wine with minimal use of chemicals and herbicides.
Since producing the Estate’s crisp sparkling wine, they have received three coveted Decanter & IWC Silver medals. Colette explains that Bluebell’s wines are quintessentially English – fresh and crisp with clean fruit flavours.
Before we got stuck in to a guided tasting session, Colette showed us where the wine is fermented and stored. This was great to see and, if you’ve not seen this process before, I’d highly recommend you go – most vineyards keep this hidden!
Bluebell are made from grapes grown in a single year, meaning every vintage is unique. Bluebell Vineyard Estates produce four delicious sparkling wines:
1. Hindleap Brut Rosé – A beautifully salmony-pink colour, this wine has a hint of berries and has a crisp, clean finish.
2. Hindleap Classic Cuvée – Produced from all three grape varieties, this has crisp, clean apple and citrus flavours.
3. Hindleap Seyval Blanc – Unusually delicious – not produced with the ‘classic’ Champagne grapes, this wine will leave you wanting more.
4. Hindleap Blanc de Blancs – Winner of the Decanter 2014 bronze award and exclusively made from Chardonnay grapes, this wine is dry and delicious.