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Simpsons looks to launch “super-premium” English Chardonnay

Published:  13 October, 2020

Simpsons English Wine Estate is looking to raise the stakes for still English wines with a limited edition Chardonnay called Q Class.

The idea is to release around 500 magnums of top flight Chardonnay under the planned new label, with a price tag that will likely sit at around £100 a pop.

The wine, which is still very much in the concept stage, according to co-owners Ruth and Charles Simpson, will be aimed at levelling up perception of English still wines to match that of the quality and premium positioning of the sparkling wines.

The north Kent producer is already a noted champion of the high quality potential of English still wines, with its award-winning Roman Road Chardonnay, and elegant Rabbit Hole Pinot Noir, also pointing to its belief in the future of these two Burgundian varieties in local vineyards.

“This would come from a particular parcel of Chardonnay up on Railway Hill, which is looking particularly good, we are thinking a super-premium wine, a level above Roman Road Chardonnay,” said Ruth Simpson (pictured, as 2020 Pinot Noir comes in).

“This will potentially be just in magnums and very limited edition”.

The Simpsons, who also have a long-established property in the Languedoc, Domaine Sainte Rose, originally returned to home soils in 2012 to take up the additional challenge of producing sparkling English wines, planting their first vines in 2014.

However, having planted clones of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir suited to both sparkling and still wine production respectively, to allow greater flexibility in any given vintage for sparkling production, the pair realised the potential for high quality still production.

Q Class would be “the first English still wine at this price”, said Charles Simpson, reflecting his vision that Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will be the defining grapes for the finest English still wines of the future.

Sarah Abott MW, co-hosting a webinar entitled ‘Stop the Sniggering!’ with Oz Clarke during English Wine Week in June, predicted that England would be deliver a tier of world class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to rival the quality of Chablis and red Burgundy.

The first magnums of Q Class are currently expected to be released in time for Christmas in 2021.