Nestled in the chalky hills of the South Downs in Hampshire three classic champagne grapes; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are grown, tended and harvested by hand by the Raimes family. Six years on from planting and the result is an elegant, pale gold, fresh and well balanced sparkling wine, bottle fermented in the traditional method.
The South of England is fast becoming an area renowned for sparkling wine production. The Raimes vineyards between Cheriton and Hinton Ampner lie on south facing slopes on essentially the same chalk which runs from the soils of Champagne. This soil, aspect and Hampshire’s climate provide the perfect terroir for growing grapes for sparkling wine with excellent minerality, balance, good acidity and complexity. A very long growing season starting early in the Spring going on into late autumn allows the flavours to really develop in the grapes.
The first release from RAIMES is a Blanc de Noirs, that is a white wine made from red grapes, in this case Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The wine spent 24 months on the lees which lends the wine more creaminess and a lovely texture. Already a silver medal winner in the WVA Wine of the Year competition, the judging panel praised “lemon sherbet with elegant bready overtones. Youthful. Rich brioche, chalky, mineral flavours balanced with citrus”.
Robert and Augusta Raimes said "we are thrilled to be awarded this very special silver medal right at the beginning of our journey. We are proud of the family team and long hours of work establishing our vines on our farm, and of our superb winemakers Emma Rice and Jacob Leadley at Hattingley Winery.”
Tasting Notes: Dominic Lockyer, Fareham Wine Cellar “The bead is fine. The nose has aromas of baked fruit, quince, red apples and a hint of toast, brioche note. On the palate it is rich and full and the mousse is quite persistent. There are flavours of red berry fruits and a hint of spice. The finish is dry and lingering. A stylish sparkling wine with a lovely texture. Great stuff”
Only 900 bottles of this particular vintage were produced, so get in quick! Each bottle is hand-numbered, a nice touch. This year will see the release of two more delicious wines; 2014 Blanc de Noirs due for release in June followed by their Classic Reserve at the end of the autumn.
RAIMES English Sparkling 2013 Blanc de Noirs can be purchased through Raimes online shop at £29.95 and at The Naked Grape in Alresford, Four Marks and Hungerford. Fareham Wine Cellar, Fareham and at The Tichborne Arms.