I’m always fascinated by the diversity and regional spread of English Wine, and one region that has really found its feet over the last decade is Hampshire. More so than any other area in England, the focus within the region remains firmly rooted within traditional method sparkling wine. And why not? With rolling hills and chalk-rich soils, many of the vineyards are not only beautifully situated but sit on fertile soils, allowing producers to deliver uber-pure and delicious English Sparkling Wines.
The majority of the Hampshire producers focus on growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the same holy trinity of grapes that form the basis for the vast majority of Champagne. With similar terroir, winemaking processes and grape varieties to the world’s most famous sparkling wine region, it would be easy to assume that producers are seeking to imitate Champagne. But in Hampshire, this can be no further from the truth. Producers such as Hattingley Valley and Exton Park, both of whom have inspirational and talented female winemakers at the helm, deliver exceptionally distinctive wines that typify the freshness and acidity that makes English Sparkling wine so appealing.
Key to the growth of the reputation of the producers and the region as a whole has been the Vineyards of Hampshire group; a consortium of producers, who collectively promote the region. This year is the perfect time to explore Hampshire, as the VoH group launched their Cellar Door Days this spring, allowing people more opportunities to visit the vineyards and wineries. My advice is to make a day or even a long weekend in Hampshire experience some of these beautiful wines and vineyards first hand, whilst taking in the culture and the sights in the nearby city of Winchester. The cathedral is a must visit!
Here are our wine and food tours, wineries and hotels to visit in Hampshire as well as magazine features to give you more knowldege. Cheers!