“This is one of the most English, stunning rosés I have tasted, and the super-smooth, incredibly pure fruit is mesmerizing.” This was Matthew Jukes’ comments on first tasting Candover Brook’s sparkling rosé. The story of this estate has its origins in the 1970s when Lord Sainsbury toured the vineyards of Champagne and hatched ambitions to make his own wine. However, it was not until 2011 that vines were eventually planted on the Sainsbury family estate in the idyllic countryside of the Candover Valley in Hampshire. The name, Candover Brook, is a nod to the chalk stream which runs through the estate and is home to the rare English White Clawed Crayfish, depicted on the label. The Sainsbury family have been farming the land for over forty years, and today the estate is run by Mark and Julian, sons of the late Lord Sainsbury.
Their five hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier are planted on a south-facing slope on chalk subsoil, which provides the ideal ripening conditions for grapes. The vines are double-guyot pruned to attain the right balance between vigour and maturity. The estate has long championed sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices and is a founding member of the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain. Meadow grasses and clovers are interplanted between the vines and sheep graze the site in winter to keep the grass low and maintain soil fertility.
Their maiden release was vinified by winemaker Felix Gabillet at neighbouring Hambledon Vineyard. The Brut is a blend of 58% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot Noir and 14% Meunier based on the exceptional 2018 vintage. Aged for 37 months on lees, it shows superb complexity and length.
Candover Brook's maiden release has lively aromas of lemon peel, almond, honeysuckle and toasted brioche. There is excellent purity of fruit, rich mouthfeel and vibrant acidity on the palate, leading to a long and layered finish.