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Gusbourne is an English wine estate I've followed since its inception in 2004, when the first vines were planted by their newly hired vineyard manager Jon Pollard, a then-colleague of mine at Majestic Wine in Brighton while he was studying at Plumpton College. One year later, I helped to pick their first harvest.
A few years after that, I began working there as a viticultural assistant for one day each week over the course of a year, documenting my adventures on these pages, including the first-ever, pre-release tasting notes on their inaugural 2006 sparkling wines.
Since then, I've reviewed various vintages of Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs nine times on our tasting notes database, and have tasted it countless other times – from celebrating New Year's Eve in Melbourne with the late-disgorged 2007, to pouring the 2010 vintage blind for a roomful of wine judges, to serving the 2013 for a table of Indian wine connoisseurs in Mumbai.
It's the estate and wine that I probably know better than any other in the world, and I've tasted it often enough to be quite certain that it deserves its reputation as one of England's flagship fizzes – one that is now available via retail in at least nine export markets, according to wine-searcher.com.
The wine is 100% Chardonnay with 9 g/l of dosage to balance the 10.4 g/l of titratable acidity. The base wine includes a small percentage of oak-aged wine (though there is no overt oak influence detectable on the nose or palate). This vintage was aged for 28 months on the lees and was initially released in January 2017.
Today, the additional 18 months in bottle has served it well. What started out as over-compressed fruit intensity has become much less austere and more succulent with time. It displays all the toasty aromas of classic lees-aged sparkling wine, and the fruit has a vivid, crunchy green-apple flavour that seems characteristically English. Not only that, but the packaging and branding is extremely smart, and the quality across the range and with each new vintage seems to be improving all the time.
All of which is ample reason to recommend Gusbourne's Blanc de Blancs as a wine of the week – and it tasted just as delicious on my wedding day in 2012 as it did on my 40th birthday just this week.