Last week, we were delighted to reunite the whole Mentzendorff team at Hambledon Vineyard. The day kicked off with coffee and croissants and important ‘One-Team’ presentations led by a member of each department. Next on the agenda, owner Ian Kellet led a fantastic tasting of the Hambledon range; a personal favourite is their Première Cuvée, for its precise structure, creamy texture and mouth-watering acidity. Using thorough geology and climate research, Ian informed us why Hampshire’s climate (slightly cooler than the French region of Champagne), along with the chalky slopes surrounding the house (identical to those from the finest French Chardonnay areas) – make the perfect conditions for a world-class Fizz.
The teams split into two, and Ian Kellet and winemaker, Tobias Tullberg, led a fun and fascinating vineyard tour. We were lucky enough to see the progress of their new on-site state-of-the-art restaurant and visitor centre, to be opened in 2022! With wooden beams in place, it was easy to imagine what the space would soon look like.
Ian explained the complexity of NV blending and one of the reasons why Hambledon’s entirely gravity-fed winery (one of the only ones in Europe) not only reduces Hambledon’s carbon footprint but also has a profound impact on the quality of their wines. The electricity used in most wineries to pump juice and wine from place to place causes vibrations that break up the polymers in the liquid. When gravity is used to transport the juice/wine, the chains remain long, bringing texture, mouthfeel and silkiness to the finished wine.
After an iconic team selfie, it was time to head home. Thank you to Hambledon Vineyard for their fantastic hospitality.