Albourne Estate Sandstone Ridge is one of four lovely still white wines produced by vineyard owner and winemaker Alison Nightingale in West Sussex; it is currently a favourite of ours. 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 Chardonnay and Ortega with a little Pinot Blanc. 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.r
A dry, aromatic, lightly rounded white wine with honeyed tones. Its aromas offer an exotic array from honeysuckle, to peach to fresh coconut and vanilla. The full flavours are layered and complex, with peach and tropical fruit flavours predominating and a hint of refreshing citrus on the finish. Albourne Estate Sandstone Ridge is an appealing, full-flavoured English white wine with impressive texture and flavours and quite Burgundian in style.
An unusual blend that has worked surprisingly well. I expected a heaviness with oak and Chardonnay, but this is a breezy, jasmine- and grapefruit-filled wine with clean, long lines of acidity that shimmer on the finish. Bit of citrus-pith adding bite, some white-melon softness and a tiny trace of elderflower mid palate. A lovely match with spring minty fresh-pea soup. 16 points: Jancis Robinson Purple Pages April 2020: Drink 2020 – 2021
The Ortega grapes are whole bunch pressed and then fermented in second-fill 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 the Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc.
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. Since then reasonable vintages of 2014 and 2015 have followed, together with the extremes of a poor 2017 vintage and the amazing 2018 vintage. 2018 was a brilliant vintage for English vine growing with many producers, who have been growing grapes and making wine in England since the late 1980s, saying that this was the best vintage in over 30 years!
The striking labels feature wildlife that are regularly seen in the Albourne Estate and are painted by a local artist, Louise Body. The Sandstone Ridge (formerly named Cellar Selection) label features a Dandelion. You can remember each wine by their lovely labels: which feature in turn, Albourne Estate Bacchus 2018 – a Buzzard, Albourne Estate White Pinot Noir 2018 – a common blue butterfly, and Albourne Estate Selection 2018 – a Green Woodpecker.
Food match: An extremely versatile food wine which will be excellent with chicken, pork, fish and shellfish dishes. It will also match well with salads, creamy sauces and risottos. It will partner everything from a Chicken Liver Paté starter, shell fish soup to Chicken Risotto!