Meonhill Reserve Brut NV, Meonhill Wines, Hampshire

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Meonhill Reserve Brut NV is a non-vintage English sparkling wine and was the first wine to be released Meonhill wines. Co-owner of Meonhill Wines Champenois Didier Pierson was at the forefront of Champagne producers entering into the production of English Sparkling wine. Meonhill Wines was originally a joint venture, established in 2004, between Syd Chaplin, of LEP farms, Didier Pierson (owner of a Grand Cru Champagne house, Champagne Didier Pierson, in Avize) and his English partner Imogen Whitaker. Things have changed a little since 2014, Didier Pierson is the only founder still involved and Meonhill is now partly owned by Ian Kellett (who is also of managing director of Hambledon Vineyard). Going forward the wine will be made at Hambledon Vineyard’s state of the art, gravity-fed winery where Didier also has a consultancy role. Meonhill Wines’ 12 hectares of vineyards are located on Old Winchester Hill and the vines are trained very low compared, to English standards, using the Chablis and the Cordon de Royat systems for the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir respectively. The vineyards have chalky soils characteristic of the South Downs and which are, geologically, an extension of the chalk soils that run through the Champagne region (and Kent). The steep slopes of the vineyards allow air-drainage which to help prevent frost. There can be slight problem with strong winds, but this can help the prevention of mould later in the viticultural year. The whole vineyard is fenced off to help ward off pests that have a taste for grapes. Meonhill’s first wine release is the Meonhill Reserve NV; made using the traditional method, including hand-picking,hand-riddling and disgorging, it is a 50:50 blend of the typical Champagne varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, grown on French rootstocks. This is is the culmination of 8 years of hard work. The first wine was made in 2007. The initial release of Meonhill Reserve Brut NV is some 5000 bottles and is a blend of three different vintages.

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