Hattingley winemaker launches English sparkling wine brand Black Chalk

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Drinks: Drinks
Location: England

A new range of English sparkling wines sourced from chalk vineyards in Hampshire aims to bang the drum for the ‘underrated’ Pinot Meunier grape.

Black Chalk, initially comprising Black Chalk Classic and Black Chalk Wild Rose, is a personal project from Hattingley Valley’s winemaker Jacob Leadley, which has been nine years in the making.

The wines, both from the 2015 vintage, have an unusually high proportion of Pinot Meunier – 34% for Classic and 47% for Wild Rose – with oak used for part of the blend and time on lees.

‘My aim has been to create wines that really typify Hampshire’s chalklands, a terroir that is becoming synonymous with pure fruit expression,’ Leadley said.

‘The combination of a long, slow growing season and shallow chalk soils combine to produce a pristinely pure fruit profile, and a weight or body that you just don’t get with Pinot Noir in England.’

Black Chalk will be distributed in the UK by Red Squirrel.

‘We’ve always held a fondness for the lesser-known grapes, and so a starring role for Pinot Meunier is also a delight to see,’ said Nik Darlington, managing director of Red Squirrel.

Black Chalk Classic, RRP £35; Black Chalk Wild Rose, RRP £40; Red Squirrel, 020 3490 1210.

About Author

Richard Woodard

A trained newspaper journalist, Richard Woodard has been writing about wine and spirits since 2000, including stints as editor of Wine & Spirit International, The Drinks Bulletin and The Spirits Business. He is a regular freelance contributor to a wide range of trade and consumer drinks magazines and websites, including Imbibe and sister title Square Meal, and is currently involved in the imminent launch of scotchwhisky.com, a new website devoted to Scotch whisky.

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