Hailed as Kent’s answer to Krug, Fifty One Degrees North from English winery Gusbourne is an exceptional sparkling wine with a price tag to match.
Priced at £195 a bottle, it’s the most expensive English sparkling wine you can buy.
This premium release takes its name from the coordinates of the ambitious Kent winery responsible and is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes from the vaunted 2014 vintage.
Charlie Holland, Gusbourne’s Chief Winemaker and CEO, said: “2014 convinced me that our wonderfully unique blend of soils and climates could consistently create outstanding ripeness.” He says the fruit produced had more pronounced stone and orchard fruit flavours, alongside the typical English citrus fruit.
Vineyard manager Jon Pollard recalls 2014: “Veraison was about ten days ahead of normal, and it was a smaller crop than in previous years. This was partly due to weather conditions, but also a result of deliberately dropping around 20 percent of selected bunches in the vineyard. By reducing the quantity of grapes left on the vine, we boosted concentration and ripeness.”
Fermentation took place over 10 days at 18-20°C using specialised sparkling wine yeast, mainly in stainless steel tanks. To add complexity, a supplemental percentage was seconded into oak barrels.
Holland and his team tasted the wine twice yearly to monitor and adjust the profile, eventually settling on 2022 as the ideal time for release.
Priced at £195 a bottle, it’s the most expensive English sparkling wine you can buy…
To celebrate the launch, Gusbourne held a fine dining experience to showcase its versatility, offering an indulgent opportunity to sample.
We found it a creamy, textured complex drink. It greets you with aromas of lemon and English green apples, refreshing and fresh.
The blend is two-thirds Chardonnay, one-third Pinot Noir, with a geographical mix that’s two-thirds fruit from the clay and sandstone of Gusbourne’s Kent vineyards, and one-third citrus acidity fruit sourced from Gusbourne’s West Sussex estates.
Aged on lees adds a creaminess and some toasty notes. The wine has an ABV of 12%.
A good food pairing would be with complex, aromatically-charged dishes, suggests Gusbourne’s Global Brand Ambassador, Master Sommelier Laura Rhys. If you can’t wait for that Turkey feast, try pork and porcini.
“Nature presented us a gift in 2014,” says Holland, “an opportunity to create a truly special wine. Minimal intervention was required, and the fruit was able to express itself naturally so we could focus on just producing the best quality possible.”
Consider Fifty One Degrees North both as a singular treat, and a delightful companion for any festive feast. It’s available from Gusbourne, Fortnum & Mason, and a select number of independent retailers.
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