Winery Snippet | Chapel Down – England
Chapel Down – England, Kent
England’s leading winemaker and one of the UK’s most exciting drinks companies. Chapel Down produces a world-class range of sparkling and still wines, together with the award-winning range of Curious beers & cider. Their sparkling wines are created using the Traditional Method, the same as Champagne, from fruit sourced from the South-East of England.
Chapel Down is the proud supplier to some British icons such as Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, and you can enjoy their drinks at great institutions such as the Royal Opera House, The Donmar Warehouse, The London Symphony Orchestra at The Barbican and the Turner Contemporary all of which they support. They are also the first English wine producer to ever feature in the London Stock Exchange’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2016’ and the directory of ‘Cool Brands™ 2016/17’. All of which is rather humbling.
“I passionately believe that there is no point in simply being the best. I think we have to be the only people who can do what we do. I want Chapel Down to be better but I also want us to be different. Like everyone else here I want to go to bed a little less stupid that I was in the morning. As a team the excitement we get is from winning friends and converts. Come and visit us and we promise to educate, entertain and inform you.”
Chapel Down CEO
Why England? The white cliffs of Dover. Iconic chalk soil, the same as that of Champagne just 90 miles to the south. This, coupled with the cool climate, enables Chapel Down to produce truly world-class sparkling wines, aromatic white wines and elegant light red wines from grapes such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Bacchus. And without the baggage of 350 years of rules, with its eye firmly on the needs of today’s consumer, and the most modern viticulture and winemaking.
Chapel Down owns vineyards across Kent where they believe the finest overall conditions for grape growing exists in England. However, the winery also source fruits from a wider geographic area – from Essex to Hampshire – to ensure they maintain consistency and that the risks of crop failure through frost and climate are reduced.
“By combining new viticultural techniques with the years of knowledge from our established vineyards, we are able to use the best of traditional and innovative practices to produce grapes of the highest standard. It is the evolving and dynamic approach to our grape growing that helps us to keep ahead of the game in a rapidly expanding industry in England.”
– Richard Lewis, Chapel Down Viticulturist
Chapel Down constantly strives to push the boundaries of English wine production through innovative ways of thinking, whether that be through blending new and traditional winemaking techniques or creating different styles of wine including England’s first Orange Bacchus and England’s first single varietal Albariño. Our aim is always to surprise and delight our customers.
Great wine is all about balance. Decisions taken to achieve this start in the vineyard but continue throughout the winemaking process. Chapel Down’s ability to source grape varieties from different terroirs enables us to produce a broad range of wine styles whilst also dedicating the very best plots to single vineyard projects, such as the Kit’s Coty collection.
Their sparkling wines are produced using the intricate Traditional Method, the same method as Champagne, where the bubbles occur naturally within the bottle. We produce a variety of styles from the youthful and vibrant Brut NV, to the more mature and complex Three Graces which is aged for four years before release. Honing what are becoming classic English wine styles is very important but they also seek to continually improve and develop styles.
“Freshness and vibrancy are key features which I look for in wines and English fruit really delivers on this, whether it be unique aromatic white wines, classic fizz, or a twist on a rich Chablis-esque Chardonnay. Balance is at the heart of every good wine and my aim, in the vineyard and the winery, is to strive for perfect balance.”
– Josh Donaghay-Spire, Head Winemaker (picture above)
Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Retail Price: S$66.00
About the Wine: Made from 100% Chardonnay sourced from the North Downs in Kent, this wine has spent 4 years maturing on its yeast lees before release. This complex vintage sparkling wine has aromas of baked apple and citrus together with brioche and rich autolytic notes which comes from the extended ageing process. Comparable to a Blanc de Blancs Champagne. Great as an aperitif or enjoy with classic pairings such as oysters, white fish, smoked salmon and caviar.