There is a wonderful salmon pink colour to the Bolney Cuvee Rose, a gently pressed 100% Pinot Noir wine of real delicacy and pretty red fruits. Dosage is approximately 9-10g/l, a perfect foil to the fresh acidity and very fine yet persistent bubbles. Bolney have made something really harmonious here with delicate grapefruit, strawberry and fine stone notes leaving a lasting impression of great drinkability. Extremely well made. Aged on its lees for 18 months.
Bolney Estate is a small, award winning family run winery nestled into the South Downs on predominantly south facing sandstone slopes. Founded by Rodney and Jane Pratt in 1972 the estate celebrated 40 years of wine making in 2012. In the age of new English Wineries popping up every few minutes this makes them something of an established name. Yet, in focussing on red wines they have remained relatively under the radar. That is, until we tasted their traditional method sparkling wines, which seem more balanced and refined than almost anything else we’ve tasted from the UK. The current winemaker is Rodney & Jane’s daughter Sam Linter who has been at the helm since 1997. She’s obviously quite at home there as she seems to have a good handle on achieving balance from the extremes of the UK growing season. Unusually for most British producers the Bolney Fruit comes entirely from their own 39 acre plantings.
English wine is revelling in unprecedented growth. As its reputation improves both domestically and abroad, more vineyards are being planted and existing ones grow older, offering the happy combination of scale and quality. Although situated at a perilously high latitude, the effects of global warming appear to be, at least in part, benefiting the English in their attempt to produce wine. While wine has been produced here for a long time, often using Germanic and other cool climate grape varieties, the industry really seems to have found its stride in the production of sparkling wine from the traditional Champagne varieties. Furthermore, the best sites in the south of England are grown on south-facing slopes with chalky soils, not unlike their French counterparts in Champagne, a mere stone throw across the channel.