Steven Spurrier and his wife Arabella are behind Bride Valley, located in West Dorset. Steven, while running Les Caves de la Madeleine and L’Académie du Vin in Paris in the 1980s, had chalky soil 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 38 kilometres 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.
Specific clones were selected following 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 Meunier clones (20%) were selected. The vines are planted on south and south-west facing slopes. In addition, 1,000 elder trees were also 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 certified organic, the vineyard continues to follow organic principles.
All of the grapes are hand harvested and then taken to neighbouring Furleigh Estate where award-winning winemaker Ian Edwards vinifies the sparkling wine in his state-of-the-art winery. All three sparkling wines are made exclusively in stainless steel to preserve their purity of fruit and vivacity. The Rosé ‘Bella’, named after Steven’s wife, was macerated for 24 hours to achieve the delicate colour. Both the Rosé and the Blanc de Blancs went through full malolactic fermentation to give a roundness to the racy acidity and then spent around 15 months on lees before release. The Dorset Crémant, from the UK’s first Crémant PDO, is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Meunier from the 2015 and 2016 vintages, with lower pressure and a slightly higher dosage to produce a creamy texture and elegant mousse.
Due to the outstanding 2018 vintage, Steven made the decision to make Bride Valley’s first still wines: a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir. The fruit for the Chardonnay was vinified in stainless-steel tanks and then left for four months on its lees. This wine has a very floral nose coupled with a broad palate and a refreshing acidity that lifts the finish. The Pinot Noir sees a touch of American oak and boasts fresh aromas of red cherry and a hint of spice. We are very excited to add both of these still wines to our portfolio.