UK wine producer Chapel Down has released England’s first single-varietal Albariño.
Chapel Down Albariño 2014 is sourced from Sandhurst vineyard, England’s only commercial Albariño vineyard where an acre of five-year-old vines are grown on Wealden clay soils with high sand content.
The Albariño grape variety is best known for its wide planting in Galicia, Spain, as well as across Portugal for Vinho Verde wines. With England sharing a similar maritime climate to the temperate Galician region, the variety thrived during the excellent 2014 vintage in England.
Chapel Down Albariño 2014 forms part of a wider project by Chapel Down to explore the potential of different grape varieties and winemaking techniques in England. In October 2015, Chapel Down released England’s first skin contact white wine, Chapel Down Orange Bacchus 2014, and a number of other trials are also underway.
One third of the wine was fermented in old French oak barrels to add texture and complexity to the barrels, with the balance being fermented in stainless steel to preserve its inherent aromatic qualities. Both wines underwent malolactic fermentation and were matured for an extended period on lees before blending and bottling.
Chapel Down winemaker Josh Donaghay-Spire said: “With England still being a relatively young wine region, there is the opportunity to better understand the terroir and the potential of different varieties. As a winemaker, the opportunity to work with a new style and produce the first wine of its kind in England is hugely exciting – although it comes with a certain responsibility to do the fruit justice.”
The aromatic dry white wine has intense aromas of fresh citrus, white peach and apple, combined with background tones of subtle oak and yeast lees. The wine’s naturally high acidity balances the richness of the palate and intense stone fruit notes, culminating in a lengthy and balanced finish.
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