Our Wine Philosophy
Our Quintessence provides perfect pleasure; one that reflects its locale, one that reflects our belief that a great sparkling wine has body and fruit and individuality.
To achieve perfection, we aim to have Pinot-led Cuvées – meaning that it is made from a high proportion of our Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes which give body and fullness; in cultivation, allowing 'the sun to kiss the grapes' by removing all leaves around the fruiting zone; to further concentrate fruit flavours and ripeness in each and every bunch, we cull at least 25% of our bunches during the ripening period; and then harvest only at optimum ripeness.
Each summer in England is climatically unique and different. This combination of nature and terroir defines the style of each of our Cuvées. The effect of climate in the vineyard on each of our three varietals (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay) means that each develops different and unique grape flavours and in different crop proportions.
This is why in crafting each of our vintages, each vintage shows its own character and each vintage has its own name to celebrate its uniqueness….
An expression of perfection
- Our definition "the essence of our efforts - perfect grapes and winemaking to create the perfect embodiment of an exquisite English quality sparkling wine."
- The dictionary definition: "the most perfect embodiment of something" or "the pure and refined essence of a substance".
Méthode Champenoise describes the meticulous way a champagne or English quality sparkling wine is created (also known as Champagne Method/ Méthode Traditionnelle / Traditional Method). It is a complex and lengthy three stage process.
The 1st stage wine (Vin Clair) is a still wine made from the classic champagne grape varieties (cépages) Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.
The 2nd stage places this Vin Clair into the classic champagne-style especially reinforced glass bottles with a further addition of yeasts and sugar (the tirage) which develops the classic fizzy bubbles and enriches the flavours in a process called autolysis. The length of time in contact with these yeasts is known as “ageing on the lees”, and the longer the contact with the lees, the finer the sparkling wine.
At High Clandon in order to produce “the most perfect embodiment”, we have a four year ageing on the lees - in contrast to most champagnes and sparkling wines which have a minimum contact of 18 months. This long autolysis further enriches and enhances our Cuvée, our Quintessence.
The 3rd and final stage is a two-part process - yeast removal after remuage and dégorgement, followed by the dosage and final capping with the special champagne-style cork:
Riddling (remuage) when the bottles are periodically turned to move the lees/yeast sediment towards the cork.
And dégorgement when the yeast lees are expelled and the final adjusting sugars (dosage) are added to create the balance and sweetness of the sparkling wine.At High Clandon, we create a dry, Brut-style sparkling wine in the belief that this is the finest flavour balance for our particular grapes and with long autolysis (time on the lees) giving our wine that added finesse.