Albourne Estate Cellar Selection is one of four lovely still white wines produced by vineyard owner and winemaker Alison Nightingale. It is unusual in that it is the only one of her wines that has been exposed to the infuence of oak. It is made from Ortega and Chardonnay. The Ortega grape is a cross between Siegerrebe and Muller-Thurgau; it is resistant to very cold weather and ripens early, so it is found in cooler climates such as Germany, Canada and England.
2017 was a particularly difficult year in England, with very late frosts which scorched a lot of the first buds coupled with on/off summer weather. The brief spells of warmer weather enabled some of the secondary shoots to produce a limited crop. The vintage was good quality but very low yielding.
A dry, aromatic, lightly rounded white wine with honeyed tones. The full flavours are layered and complex, with peach and tropical fruit flavours predominating and a hint of refreshing citrus on the finish. An appealing, full-flavoured English white wine with impressive texture and flavours and quite Burgundian in style.
The Ortega grapes are whole bunch pressed and then fermented in second-hand French oak barrels to impart a hint of oak. It then rests on its lees and is stirred for several weeks to develop a richer style, and finally it is blended with Chardonnay.
Another excellent wine from the Albourne Estate. Alison likes to innovate and if you find Bacchus or Estate Selection a bit dry, this is a more rounded style and definitely a refined, English wine to tempt you!
Albourne Estate has just under 11 hectares (30 acres) in gently rolling hills, near Hassocks in West Sussex, with stunning views to the Devils Dyke. The vineyards were planted in 2010 when Alison Nightingale (co-owner) finally found the site she had been looking for which ticked all the boxes to provide excellent drainage, low frost risk and maximum sun exposure, critical factors in achieving successful vine growth and grape ripeness at this northerly latitude. 2013 was their first vintage; this has been followed by the warmer and excellent 2014 vintage.
The striking labels feature wildlife that are regularly seen in the Albourne Estate and are painted by a local artist, Louise Body. The Cellar Selection label features a Dandelion. You can remember each wine by their lovely labels: which feature in turn, Albourne Estate Bacchus 2017 – a Buzzard (sadly now sold out), Albourne Estate White Pinot Noir 2017 – a common blue butterfly, and Albourne Estate Selection – a Green Woodpecker.
Food match: Fish and chicken dishes including light sauces.