EDW Alumni Club – Vineyards of Hampshire Masterclass
November saw our second taster event of the Enjoy Discovering Wine (EDW) ‘Alumni Club’ with the theme of Vineyards of Hampshire. The EDW Alumni Club was set up to offer Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) students the opportunity to come together for an evening to continue their wine education. Aimed at students who have qualified to WSET Level 2 or 3, the Alumni Club meets monthly to taste and explore a new line up of wines that have been sourced by Erica. The event is is co-hosted by the delightful Corner House in Winchester.
Vineyards of Hampshire – Danebury still wines
Lots of people were keen to join this month’s Alumni Club, with a Vineyards of Hampshire masterclass. As a group of 30 attendees we had the opportunity to taste a wine from each of the eight vineyards that make up the Vineyards of Hampshire group. The evening began with a refreshing and tasty glass of Madeleine Angevine 2014, from Danebury Vineyards. While we tasted this wine we listened to a talk from Erica about English wines. One of the facts Erica explained was the positions of the vineyards in relation to sun exposure for the ripening of the grapes. All the vineyards are positioned above 49.9 degrees north which allows the grapes access to long daylight hours during the growing season. This vineyard position helps to overcome the temperate climate and lack of warmth, we have very few summer days with temperatures above 30 degrees Centigrade… sadly.
Vineyards of Hamphire – soils
Erica also spent some time explaining the soils in some of our English vineyards and how the chalk content within the soil will hold onto the water. One cubic metre of chalk can hold up to 660 litres of water, this means the vines have to fight for the water and as a result they become stronger. The purity of the chalk is dependent on its age and what sea creatures have died to make it. The purer the chalk the higher the risk of chlorosis, so the balance of the chalk content within the soil is crucial to the well being and productivity of the vine.
Vineyards of Hampshire – dosage
We then moved on to tasting our first three Vineyards of Hampshire Sparkling Wines: the Classic Cuvee NV from Cottonworth; Hattingley Valley’s Rose 2014; and Hambledon Vineyards Classic Cuvee Rose NV. These three sparkling wines had similar pH levels but varying levels of residual sugar. Starting with Cottonworth Classic Cuvee at 6 g/l, moving up to Hattingley Valley’s Rose at 8g/l, then to Hambledon Vineyards Classic Cuvee Rose at 10g/l. It was really interesting to taste the differences. While we tasted and compared these wines, Erica shared the importance of England’s role in how sparkling wines came about. In 1662 English scientist Christopher Merret presented a paper detailing how the presence of sugar and yeast in still wine led to it becoming sparkling. This paper is the first known account of understanding the process of sparkling wine.
Vineyards of Hampshire – autolysis
Our final four Vineyards of Hamphire sparkling wines, Raimes Blanc de Noirs 2014; Exton Park Blanc de Noir NV; Jenkyn Place Brut 2010; and Meonhill Grande Reserve Brut NV turned our focus onto the role of autolysis in the production of sparkling wines. We learnt how disgorging early, before the process of autolysis had finished, may result in a wine which could, potentially, last a long time in the bottle. In comparison disgorging long after autolysis had finished the wine would probably not benefit from being aged in the bottle.
Vineyards of Hampshire – delicious with and without food
We learnt a lot of other facts about Traditional Method sparkling wines and about each of the Vineyards of Hampshire producers, plus everyone really enjoyed them. Erica also encouraged us to try the wines with different nibbles of food, demonstrating sometimes quite considerable changes in the wines. As always with wine, and also when pairing with food, everyone has an opinion and personal preferences, and that is what is most important. So this event gave us this opportunity to discover that for ourselves too.
As you can see from this blog, the Alumni Club events are aimed at lots of education, plus an interesting tasting, which we all enjoyed on various levels. The evening also gave us an opportunity to chat with like-minded peers and enjoy a range of wonderful wines. Role on January for our next event!
If you would like more information about our Alumni Events please contact Erica via firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Vineyards of Hampshire click here
by Helen and Erica – November 2017