3 Decanter Silver Medal Winners from West Sussex
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 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 was followed by the warmer and excellent 2014 vintage. 2017 was the most difficult of recent vintages with very late frosts which scorched a lot of the first buds, followed by on/off summer weather. 2018 was a stunning English vintage with near perfect weather from bud burst, through the important flowering and setting periods and finally during the run up to the harvest. It was a bumper year, both in quality of the fruit and quantity. This is the sort of vintage in a half-century, that makes up for the many marginal years!
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The striking labels feature wildlife that are regularly seen in the Albourne Estate and are painted by a local artist, Louise Body.
Albourne Estate Bacchus 2019
(Decanter Silver Medal 2021: 90 Points)
Alison loves to innovate and this year she vinified Bacchus grapes from early and later pickings in different batches and then blended them; the result is an enigmatic and distinctive Bacchus. It has subtle aromas of elderflower and green pepper, together with mango, lime and hints of fresh thyme and greek basil. It has complex and layered flavours of elderflower, asparagus, citrus and tropical hints. This wine is still developing and improving in its complexity; overall it is a classy dry white wine with a lovely mouth-feel and excellent length. The warmth of the 2018 summer has lent more texture and richness to this Bacchus, whilst maintaining its freshness.
Albourne Estate Selection 2018/19
(Decanter Silver Medal 2020: 91 Points)
A beautifully elegant blend of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris forming around 86%; the balance of the blend is made up from small batches of Ortega, Bacchus and Chardonnay – each contributing complexity and interest. This wine has layers of aromas from quince, acacia and lime with touches of hazelnut. It is elegantly textured with flavours of citrus, pears and white peach fruit and a distinct mineral quality; it is quite like an Alsace wine in style. An appealing full-flavoured, dry white wine which will continue to develop over the next 2 years.
Albourne Estate Sandstone Ridge 2018
(Decanter Silver Medal 2020: 90 Points)
Made from a blend of Chardonnay and Ortega with some Pinot Blanc. The grapes are whole bunch pressed and then fermented in second-hand large 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 blended. The result is 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 vanilla oak and refreshing citrus on the finish. It has an impressive texture and the flavours are like a light Burgundian style.