Greyfriars Vineyard

Cuvée Royale

UK, Surrey

2016

Cuvée Royale

This traditional method English Sparkling wine is a 50:50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the couer de cuvée. Initially fermented and aged in old oak barriques with full malolactic fermentation. Citrus qualities, creamy mousse, sharp acidity, refreshing and zesty. Smoky flint touches add excitement. Fine seafood or caviar.

WBSS24 Cuvée Royale 2016

The Origins of Greyfriars

The original tiny Greyfriars vineyard was planted in 1989 on the south facing chalk slopes of the picturesquely named Hog’s Back on the North Downs, a few miles outside Guildford in the beautiful Surrey Hills. Mike and Hilary Wagstaff took over Greyfriars at the end of 2010 with the aim of expanding it from ‘hobby’ scale to boutique commercial scale grower-producer of outstanding English Sparkling Wine.

Philosophy and Viticulture

Greyfriars’ philosophy is very focused and simple; grow great grapes on an amazing site and let them express themselves in the winery. The south-facing chalk slopes of the Hog’s Back provide the perfect geology for producing world class sparkling wine. Viticulture is sustainable with minimal chemical inputs and yields are restricted to boost quality and ripeness. Over 50,000 new vines have been planted between 2011–2018 of which roughly 90% are the three traditional Champagne grape varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with small plantings of Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Blanc.

Expansion and Winemaking

Over the last 10 years vineyard holdings have grown to over 16ha and there is now a world class winery and a chalk ‘cave’ dug into the side of the Hog’s Back. Wine production has increased from a few thousand bottles to 75–80,000 annually. In the winery, the winemaking philosophy is all about minimal intervention to allow the flavour of the fruit do the talking. As a grower-producer, they are in complete control of the process from grape to glass and continuously strive to improve quality. They are big enough to be able to invest in vines, equipment and people but small enough for every bottle to be a labour of love. All of their sparkling wines are made using the Traditional Method (Méthode Champenoise) and are aged in their cellars for a minimum of two years prior to release and many for much longer.

Cuvée Royale and Its Inspiration

This Cuvée Royale is the second in a series of limited edition prestige cuvées produced where each bottle is individually numbered from the 2016 vintage. It is a 50:50 blend of the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the couer de cuvée (the heart of the press). The base wine was fermented and aged in old oak barriques and put through full malolactic fermentation before bottling in July 2017. Dosage is a modest 7.5g/l. Originally released around the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebration in May 2022, this wine has continued to improve with longer ageing in the chalk cellar prior to its disgorgement in May 2023. Most people think the name of this wine was inspired by the Royal Wedding around the time of the initial release of the 2015 vintage of Cuvée Royale in May 2018, but that is not the case. This wine was always going to be called Cuvée Royale from the moment it was bottled and its name is inspired by scene in the Quentin Tarantino movie Pulp Fiction where John Travolta describes a quarter pounder hamburger as a ‘Royale with cheese'.

Tasting
NOTES

Initially quite closed on the nose. Then notes of green apples, pear, lees contact, and very delicate white flowers. Very appealing on the palate with sharp lifted acidity. The palate is focused on citrusy qualities with a creamy mousse to compliment the sharpness of the acidity. Very refreshing and zesty. Long aftertaste and good flavour intensity. Yeastiness and a hint of lactic tones expressed as yoghurt lie beneath the citrus fruit. Smoky, flinty touches add excitement. Balanced and very drinkable.

Food
PAIRINGS

There is complexity to this sparkling wine that deserves fine seafood; caviar with lemon zest, olive oil on sour cream with bread crutons. As an alternative, pair with the Mexican sauce pipian verde and crab.

Contact
PRODUCER

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WBSS24 Cuvée Royale 2016

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