Local Boozing

Terribly sorry that it’s been a month since my last post… I recently moved to London, started a new job and popped to Paris for a few days, so everything’s been rather chaotic. I’m only just catching up on the Game of Thrones finale as we speak.

I’m aware that I’ve written two posts about wine recently and I sound like a roaring carouser, but a few weeks ago I went to a local wine fair and it was fabulous. In fact, I’ve managed to take a delightful afternoon tasting sparkling whites and boisterous reds, and linked it back to an important socio-environmental issue. Hoorah!

Last time I wrote about the nutritional and environmental benefits of drinking organic wine, but if this still isn’t your cup of tea then there is an excellent alternative which helps British farmers and reduces our carbon footprint. The wine fair I visited was brimming with local wine producers from the south of England, and the wines were just as tasty (if not better) as those from exotic lands afar.

Here’s a quick viticultural tip: Grapes grow better in chalky soil. A cubic metre of chalk will hold 660 litres of water, so chalky soil means plenty of water for vines to sloop up whilst also providing great drainage. The region of Champagne in northeast France is famous for sparkling wine production not only due to its naturally chalky soil, but because of the grape’s acidity from the climate. Bizarrely, the climate in southern England is actually far better suited to sparkling wine production, as the temperature is slightly cooler and enhances the grapes’ natural acidity. For some reason French wines have all the glory!

Hambledon wines are based in a small village in Hampshire where the first game of cricket is said to have been played. The vineyard was planted in 1952 and extends over 80 acres. I was lucky enough to taste three of their sparkling wines: the Mill Down Vintage 2010 with spiced quince and lemon flavours, the Classic Cuvee with floral, fruity aromas, and the Grande Reserve Brut with crisp strawberry notes.

It’s incredibly satisfying to enjoy such sumptuous beverages whilst knowing you’re helping local people and reducing the environmental damage of importing from across the globe. Don’t get me wrong, I love a cheeky Argentinian or dry Australian. But it’s really great to enjoy something grown only a stone’s throw away from my own front door!

You can find more information about Hambledon wines here or visit the Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival this weekend in Bentley!



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