Up on the chalk downs just north of Stockbridge tucked away is Black Chalk winery. Established in 2015 using grapes purchased from local Hampshire vineyards they produced small batch, Champagne method sparkling wines. They have bright fruit, purity and freshness. The first wines were launched in 2018.
“Black Chalk is one of the most exciting new releases to have hit the English wine scene”
Peter Richards MW
Black Chalk have now purchased 12 hectares of their own vineyards in the Test Valley and they also have a little tasting room at the winery.
The great quality of the wines are down to the shallow soils above solid chalk which provide precision and purity.
Jacob Leadley is the Winemaker, he left London in 2009 to retrain as a winemaker at Plumpton college. Since then he has worked in Champagne and New Zealand. In 2018 Jacob left Hattingley Valley to focus full time on Black Chalk.
Assistant winemaker Zoe also has lots of experience winemaking in Australia, Champagne and then Hattingley Valley. In 2021 she graduated from Plumpton with MSc degree in viticulture and Oenology.
Simon and I tasted the full range of wines and were seriously impressed especially for a relatively new project. It was so nice to taste some Hampshire sparkling wines of such quality.
Classic 2020 – small batch, traditional method sparkling using the three classic varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The use of oak barrels and time on lees gives a lovely depth to the wine. This is fresh and zippy with a mineral finish.
Black Chalk Wild Rose – Currently my favourite is this rosé, is has plenty of strawberry and raspberry fruit, but is perfectly dry and clean.
Rumour Has It, Chardonnay 2022 – Made with fruit from Kent, a small portion of the wine goes into New French oak and is blended to make a Chablis-eque style of Chardonnay. Super clean and mineral.
We had a short walk around the small vineyard near the winery and the grapes were looking very healthy. The early hot start to the summer was great for fruit set and there are plenty of bunches, this has been book ended by a hot September, so fingers crossed the grapes continue to ripen and it makes for a good vintage!