Based in Hampshire, Hambledon is one of the UK’s leading producers of English sparkling wine. These are two of the current releases, and they are both excellent.
Hambledon Classic Cuvée Brut NV Hampshire, England
12% alcohol. 56% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir,17 % Pinot Meunier, from the 2016 harvest with tank-aged reserve wines added (20%). Dosage 4.5 g/litre. Hampshire chalk soils. This is a complex, serious, complete fizz, with bracing lemony freshness and well integrated racy acidity, but also some toast, marzipan and honey richness, as well as a touch of baked apple and a pleasant savoury sour note. It covers the full flavour spectrum, with some cherry and grapefruit, too, and it’s a brilliant example of using reserve wines to good effect to add layers of depth and complexity. The relatively low dosage avoids obscuring some of the details. This is quite brilliant. 93/100 (£28.03 Lay & Wheeler, £30 Waitrose, £34.99 Majestic [£29.99 mix six price], £25.95 House of Malt, £29.95 Fortnum & Mason, £26.95 Fareham Wine Cellar)
Hambledon Brut Première Cuvée NV Hampshire, England
12% alcohol. 67% Chardonnay, 11% Pinot Noir and 22% Pinot Meunier, mostly from the 2014 harvest, with barrel-aged reserve wines. Dosage 2.5 g/litre. Full yellow in colour, this is structured and taut, with some apple and pear richness but also citrus freshness, with immense concentration and very fine acidity, which is fully present but integrates beautifully. There are some bread/pastry notes, as well as some fine toast and nut characters, with the low dosage allowing all the different flavours to express themselves: lime, herbs, green apple, sour cherry, pastry and spice. Serious stuff with its own distinctive personality. 94/100 (£43.03 Lay & Wheeler, £45 Waitrose, £45 direct)
Website: Hambledon Vineyard