|Nick Hall explains his winemaking|
We walked from the station the half mile to Nick's top vineyard, on a fine south- facing slope that sits on a bed of gravel that lends focus and elegance to his wines. The view, too, is rather special, open elegant country with mature oaks on rolling hillocks - one might have been in Burgundy in the pretty byways of Bouzeron, Rully and Mercurey. The lower vineyard has more clay and gives a substantial boost to the cuvees. Nobody can pretend that 2010 was an easy vintage in England - the acidity levels were scarily high - and as Nick's Plumpton guru, the good Peter Morgan, honestly admitted, a sizeable dosage of 13 g/l was needed to make the wine palatable: natural methods can only do so much when nature is cruel.
Against the odds, Nick has made a fine champagne in 2010 with more chardonnay in the mix to give long-life and structure. But his rose is the ace, just pressed a little longer to give a subtle tint of colour and aromatic little red fruits,the work of a man with real feeling for his passion. I had a great talk, too, with Nick's son, Alexander, now at Charterhouse, a bright hope and maybe an assured successor one day.
Damn the weather, press on!