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Steven Spurrier and his wife Arabella are behind Bride Valley, located in West Dorset. Steven, while running Les Caves de la Madeleine and L’Academie du Vin in Paris in the 1980s, had soil (chalky) samples from Arabella’s 80 hectare estate tested and the results came back: “very similar to Champagne”. This is not surprising because the village of Kimmeridge is just 24 miles as the crow flies from Bride Valley. After two decades and three visits from Boisset’s sparkling wine expert, Georges Legrand, vines were planted on the best sites in the bowl of the amphitheatre-like estate. Three hectares were planted in 2009, rising to a total of 10 hectares in 2013 when planting was completed.
Specific clones were selected on the advice of Pierre-Marie Guillaume, the owner of France’s top nursery in Charcenne (east of Dijon). After intense analysis, seven Chardonnay clones (55% of the plantings), four Pinot Noir clones (25%) and two Pinot Meunier clones (20%) were selected. The vines are planted on south and south west facing slopes. In addition, 1000 Italian Alder trees were planted to act as a natural windbreak to the breezes coming from the Jurassic Coast, four miles to the south. Bride Valley has been sustainably farmed for centuries and although the grapes are not certified organic, the vineyard continues to follow organic principles.
A crystal clear Blanc de Blancs that shows the chalky soil and freshness from a light vintage, and very young vines. The palate is fruity with hints of brioche, a lean citrus edge on the palate with fine mousse and racy acidity