Bride Valley Rosé Bella 2014
Bride Valley vineyard is owned and run by the acclaimed wine writer, Steven Spurrier and his wife Arabella. Located in Dorset, this 10 hectare estate sees vines planted on the best sites in the bowl of the amphitheatre-like estate. The south-facing slopes create the ideal environment for the three traditional sparkling wine varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

“Bride Valley has been sustainably farmed for centuries and although the grapes are not certified organic, the vineyard continues to follow organic principles.” 1000 Italian Alder trees were planted as a natural windbreak to protect the vines against the breezes coming from the Jurassic Coast, four miles to the south.

Bride Valley Rosé Bella 2014 is made from the three traditional sparkling wine varieties: 85% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Meunier. The grapes were hand-harvested by a team of skilled pickers. 2014 was an excellent vintage for English wine. It was the second warmest in 100 years which allowed for a long, steady ripening season.

The grapes were taken to nearby Furleigh Estate for vinification by their award-winning winemaker, Ian Edwards. “The rosé colour was achieved by macerating the Pinot Noir grapes for 24 hours before pressing.” Maceration is an extended period of time when the grape juice remains in contact with grape skins, where the majority of colour and tannin is found.

Each grape variety’s juice was fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wines underwent malolactic fermentation, (where the malic, ‘appley’ acid is transformed into lactic ‘milky/creamy’ acid) to soften and smooth the natural crisp acidity. The three wines, (one each of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier) were then carefully blended together. The blending process is an art form as the percentages of each variety influence the finished wine’s flavour profile dramatically.

The Rosé Bella wine was put into its sparkling wine bottles along with more yeast and some nutrients, (known as the ‘liqueur de tirage’) to trigger the secondary fermentation. The wine underwent a slow secondary fermentation, being kept on its side to increase the contact between the liquid and the yeast lees. Lees are the dead yeast cells from the fermentation process – by allowing the wine to remain in contact with them, complexity of flavour and structure is achieved. The wine was aged in this manner for 15 months, progressively gaining mature, tertiary flavours and structure through the process of autolysis. Autolysis is where wines gain their complex ‘bready’ and ‘yeasty’ flavours. This part of the traditional sparkling wine production method is arguably the most important stage.

Once the wine has completed its secondary fermentation and aged for the winery’s desired amount of time, the bottles are riddled. Riddling is where the bottles are slowly turned and twisted from a laying position to an upright one with the neck facing downwards. This causes the yeast to gather in the neck of the bottle where it can be easily removed via the disgorging process. The bottle neck containing the dead yeast cells was frozen and then the bottle opened, releasing the yeast in a pellet of ice. The disgorging process also includes the addition of the wine’s dosage, where sweetness is added to the wine to create the perfect balance. Ian added a restrained about of dosage, (7g/l) to the Bride Valley Rosé Bella 2014 in order to preserve the wine’s natural elegance and balance. The wine was then resealed with the characteristic sparkling wine corks and cages.

Bride Valley Rosé Bella 2014 is a deliciously elegant style which is named in honour of Steven’s wife.

Tasting Note:
Classic red berry aromas provide an elegant charm. Notes of raspberry balance with a hint of citrus on the palate.

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