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Bride Valley Cuvée Réserve

Dorset, Southern England

Bride Valley

Steven Spurrier and his wife Arabella are behind Bride Valley, located in West Dorset...

Steven, while running Les Caves de la Madeleine and L’Academie du Vin in Paris in the 1980s, had soil (chalky) samples from Arabella’s 80 hectare estate tested and the results came back: “very similar to Champagne”. This is not surprising because the village of Kimmeridge is just 24 miles as the crow flies from Bride Valley. After two decades and three visits from Boisset’s sparkling wine expert, Georges Legrand, vines were planted on the best sites in the bowl of the amphitheatre-like estate.  Three hectares were planted in 2009, rising to a total of 10 hectares in 2013 when planting was completed.

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Vineyards

Specific clones were selected on the advice of Pierre-Marie Guillaume, the owner of France‘s top nursery in Charcenne (east of Dijon). After intense analysis, seven Chardonnay clones (55% of the plantings), four Pinot Noir clones (25%) and two Pinot Meunier clones (20%) were selected. The vines are planted on south and south west facing slopes. In addition, 1,000 elder trees were planted to act as a natural windbreak to the breezes coming from the Jurassic Coast, four miles to the south. Bride Valley has been sustainably farmed for centuries and although the grapes are not certifi ed organic, the vineyard continues to follow organic principles.

Vintage information

Budburst happened exceptionally quickly and early, again almost three weeks in advance of 2010. April turned out to be one of the driest on record with well below average rainfall recorded. May was another dry month with below-average rainfall. The month of June recorded well above average rainfall. Flowering in some areas continued well into July and lasted for a period of six weeks. Fruit set was generally poor and in particular Pinot Noir was badly hit with millerandage. The months of July and August were mediocre with below-average temperatures and sunshine. However, record temperatures in September and October allowed the grapes to ripen well and the fruit in Dorset was particularly advanced at harvest time, with very well balanced acids and sugars.

Vinification

All of the grapes were hand harvested and then taken to neighbouring Furleigh Estate where Ian Edwards vinified the sparkling wine in his state of the art winery. The Cuvée Réserve, a blend of 93% Chardonnay and 7% Pinot Noir, was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and underwent malolactic fermentation. After blending and tirage, the wine spent two years on its lees and received 9g/l dosage.

Tasting Notes

Pale lemon in colour, the Bride Valley Cuvée Réserve shows green apple and pear with hints of toast on the nose. The palate has a fine mousse and lively acidity. The conservative dosage allows the wine to express its natural elegance and freshness.

Vintage information

Vintage 2011
Grape varieties 93% Chardonnay
7% Pinot Noir
Region Dorset, Southern England
Winemaker Ian Edwards
Consultant Winemaker Steven Spurrier
Alcohol (ABV) 12%
Acidity 8.2g/l
Residual Sugar 8.8g/l
Wine pH 3.12