Friday, 27 November 2015

The Duke's Reserve Brandy

This year we have released our first brandy, named The Duke's Reserve after the Duke of Northumberland who owns the estate here in Albury that the vineyard sits on.

This delicious spirit has been made for us by Silent Pool Distillers from the pressings of our wine from the 2013 harvest. It has been aging in oak for a year and is now ready for you to taste! Only 150 bottles have been made of this limited release brandy, and you can only buy it directly from the vineyard. It is for sale at £30 a bottle and we think it will make a great Christmas present.

Don't forget that we are open every Friday (10am - 3pm) and Saturday (10am - 5pm) from now until Christmas for you to pop in and taste the brandy, as well as our new sparkling wines. You can also stock up on our new sparkling wines for Christmas.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

English Wines are Fizzing

In recent years English quality sparkling wines have started to compete head on with Champagne, winning numerous international awards. English vineyards like Nyetimber, Camel Valley, Ridgeview, Gusbourne and Chapel Down have led the way in producing wines that challenge the world's best fizz.

Made in exactly the same way as champagne, using Method Traditional, English bubbly is now appearing on most UK sommeliers wine lists and is starting to be exported to numerous wine loving countries including the US and Australia. It is even making an appearance in Bordeaux in France at Gordon Ramsey's new restaurant.

So why is English bubbly so good? Amazingly it's all to do with our great weather! The best sparkling wines in the world are made in cool climates, Champagne being the most famous example. This is because quality sparkling wine is made from fairly acidic grape juice and in a cool climate the acids stay high and the grapes don't get too ripe. Of course quality is also effected by soil and topography as well as the climate (what the French call terroir) and many of our vineyards are sited on land very similar to Champagne. We have also developed a very professional approach to wine production with some of the best viticulturists and wine makers in the world now based in the UK.

At Albury Organic Vineyard we are fortunate to benefit from great terroir, and an almost perfect site for growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes which are the traditional champagne varietals. We also believe that our biodynamic approach helps to produce excellent quality fruit and ultimately great wine. Whilst we are a young vineyard, having planted in 2009, we have already won some prestigious awards and have had our wine listed at The Royal Opera House, Claridges and Raymond Blanc's Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons.

So don't bother with average quality Champagne this Christmas and New Year - celebrate with excellent quality English organic bubbly instead.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Another Good Year - Harvest Round-up

The harvest is now finished and some excellent quality must is now happily fermenting in the winery. Time to relax a bit and for some a holiday - Alex, our vineyard manager, has decided that she needs a break from the English winter and has gone to New Zealand leaving Attila moping around the vineyard!

2015 has been another good year for Albury Vineyard. Overall the quality of fruit was almost as good as the exceptional 2014. The grapes were very clean with no sign of disease and sugars were great. Acids were a bit higher than last year for the fruit that we picked for our sparkling wine, but that's not bad news as the best bubbly is made from fairly acidic grape juice.

The only slight disappointment is that yields were quite a bit down on last year. This is mainly because we took about 25% of the fruit off the vines in August which is known as a green harvest. August was very wet and cold and we were worried that the grapes wouldn't ripen enough. By taking off fruit all the plant's energy is focused on ripening a smaller quantity. As it happens, we had a bit of an Indian summer but we can't gamble on the weather. As Alex quite rightly says "quality is more".

We will be releasing Silent Pool Rosé 2015 next May. There will only be 5000 bottles compared to the 6000 this year which has pretty well already sold out. The 2015 wine for Albury Estate sparkling will be bottled next May for secondary fermentation and will probably be released in 2018.

Next month we will start pruning our 21,000 vines and early in the new year we will feed them with compost teas and a mix of biodynamic buffalo manure and compost from Laverstoke with various biodynamic preparations. Hopefully 2016 will be another good year!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Come and taste our new wines!

We are very excited to be releasing two new organic sparkling wines, Albury Estate Classic Cuvée and Albury Estate Blanc de Blancs. Both are available to taste and buy at the vineyard as follows:
Winter Opening Hours
13th November - 19th December
Fridays: 10am - 3pm
Saturdays: 10am - 5pm
Pop in to taste the new wines, chat to the team, and take a stroll around the vineyard.

Families are welcome and we have stickers and apple juice to entertain little ones leaving grown-ups free to taste wine.

You will receive a 10% discount off purchases of 6 or more bottles of the new sparkling wines when you buy directly from the vineyard on open days before Christmas - the perfect excuse to drink English bubbly for Christmas this year!

Don't miss our special Christmas event on Saturday 5th December (10am - 5pm) when we will have the Godalming Community Gospel Choir, finalists at the BBC Gospel Choir of the year, singing at the vineyard (music from 1pm). Join us for carols and mince pies, and stock up on some English sparkling wine for Christmas! This is a free event but please email to reserve your space.