Gusbourne proves that English wine can compete on a global level – so what better way to celebrate the opening of Harvey Nichols’ new Bottle Room than a tasting with their wine making expert?
This July, Harvey Nichols will launch their brand new bar, The Bottle Room. It has all the luxury of the Fourth Floor Cafe, but in a more relaxed, laid back setting. You can order at the bar, enjoying everything from craft beer to wine, cocktails and spirits, or buy a bottle from the extensive collection in their Wine Shop and drink it in the bar with a corkage fee.
The Bottle Shop will also become their new event space, and they’re set to welcome a string of highly respected wine producers, distilleries and brewers into the fold in the coming months, giving you the chance to find out more about the drinks you love. In fact, their first event is planned for Tuesday 11th July 2017 – it’s an exclusive wine tasting with award-winning English wine producers Gusbourne and there are just 20 places up for grabs.
Gusbourne was started in 2004, when Andrew Weeber took over the Gusbourne Estate in Kent with an ambitious plan to turn it into a vineyard. But he didn’t just want a vineyard, he wanted to create a range of English sparkling wines that could compete globally – and that’s exactly what he did. In 2016, they became highest rated sparkling wine in Decanter’s list of the ‘Most Exciting Wines of 2016’, as well as securing Double Platinum at the Decanter World Wine Awards and Double Gold at the Sommelier Wine Awards.
These accomplishments are all the more impressive because Gusbourne is such a young vineyard. They launched their first wine in 2010, six years after the first vines were planted. In many ways, they’re very traditional wine makers (they still handpick all their grapes), but they also use modern technology and cutting edge equipment to great effect – somehow, they’ve found the perfect balance between nature and science.
That’s something you can hear all about at their exclusive wine tasting. You’ll enjoy a champagne reception, before sitting down with Gusbourne’s wine expert Neil Irvine to taste five of their best wines – we caught up with him ahead of the event to get an insight into the wines and how they’re made.
You’ll start with Brut Reserve 2013. This one’s special, because it’s one of the first wines they ever made – it was launched in 2010, and they’ve been making it ever since. Their Brut Reserve is made with a mix of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes. Although most of the grapes are fermented in steel tanks, a small batch is done in old oak barrels to give it extra complexity. The result is phenomenal.
“Bright gold in colour, Brut Reserve highlights the red fruit aromas of cherry and strawberry, which then develop into attractive fresh pastry notes with a touch of cinnamon and spice,” Irvine told us. “With a bright streak of citrus fruit, the palate is clean and fresh whilst giving tones of soft stone fruit and a long, refreshing finish.”
Next up is their Rose 2013, a delicate sparkling wine made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes, it’s fermented in tanks then combined with a small batch of barrel aged red wine ahead of the second fermentation to create a light, sparkling rose.
But what does it taste like? Irvine told us, “It’s got a delicate salmon pink colour, with subtle oral notes and aromas of fresh red fruits, strawberry, raspberry and cranberry. On the palate, the wine is vibrant, with flavours of summer berries, dark cherry, red apple and nectarine. Bright acidity and a creamy mouthfeel enhance the fruit character, with hints of brioche and pastry.”
For your third wine, you’ll be tasting a record-breaking bottle. Blanc de Blancs won six gold medals in 2015, the most a wine has ever won in a single year. Made with 100% Chardonnay grapes, it’s lees aged for no less than 36 months, so you’ll be drinking the 2012 vintage. The result is an incredibly complex wine, well deserving of its awards.
This one’s clearly a favourite with Irvine, “It’s a pale, golden colour with fine, persistent beads of bubbles. The nose exhibits its pure Chardonnay character, with citrus juice and zest, green apple and oyster shell mineral notes. The palate is focused and precise, with elegant structure, bright acidity and great complexity. The fruit notes on the nose are met with more ripe citrus and melon character, with hints of buttered toast and pastry, leading to a long, zesty finish.”
Although the Gusbourne vineyard was born of a desire to create world-class sparkling wines, that’s no longer all they do – which is why the last two wines you’ll be trying are still. You’ll ease into it with their Guinevere Chardonnay 2014, a well balanced wine made with 100% Chardonnay grapes, aged for 6 months in oak barrels.
“Guinevere exhibits all the classic traits of a barrel fermented cool climate Chardonnay with a generous nose of butter, creamy oak and a citrus streak. On the palate there’s a combination of bright citrus fruit and oatmeal complexity, with an impressive full finish,” Irvine told us.
The final wine of the evening is a red. The Boot Hill Pinot Noir 2015 uses 100% handpicked Pinot Noir grapes, cold soaked for three days before they start the skin fermentation and age it for 6 months in French oak barrels.
“This wine shows the classic characteristics of a cool climate Pinot Noir, with bright red fruits on the nose, including raspberries and wild strawberries,” Irvin told us. “On the palate, the wine is elegant and delicate, dominated by juicy red cherries and bramble fruit, with a touch of savoury spice and soft, supple tannins.”
You’ll need something to soak up all that delicious wine, so they’ll be serving their delicious charcuterie & cheese plates, and when the tasting is finished, you’ll have a chance to take in your surroundings with a glass of Grey Goose Le Fizz, a heady mix of vodka, elderflower liqueur, freshly squeezed lime juice and soda water.
The only way to get tickets is to win them
The Gusbourne Wine Tasting is now sold out, so now the only way to get tickets is to win them. Fill out the form below and hit ‘Enter Now’ by 5pm on Wednesday 11th July 2017. Keep an eye on your inbox, because we’ll be emailing the winner.