Ambriel Estate is located on the South Downs, in West Sussex, the heartland of the English Sparkling Wine industry. The Estate was founded in 2006 by Charles and Wendy Outhwaite, an Investment Banker and QC respectively, who traded their careers in the city for a life of wine production. The first harvest was in 2010.
The first wine from the Estate was released in 2013 - the Ambriel Classic Cuvée. All grapes used to make Ambriel wine are grown on their own 7.5ha estate. The vineyards, located on sunny slopes, are planted with high quality Burgundian clones of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The sandy soils of the Estate help to store and reflect heat back on to the vines, helping the grapes to reach ripeness in the cool English climate. The grape varieties are fermented separately, in stainless steel tanks or aged Burgundian barrels. This variation allows for more options when it comes to the blending stage, which is always conducted blind, to ensure it is only the palate which informs the decision as to what composes the final wine.
Most vineyard work is carried out by hand, and are planted with wildflowers alongside the grapevines, which foster a beneficial insect population on the estate. Also living at Ambriel is a flock of oessants - the world's smallest breed of sheep - who graze the vineyard during the winter and act as official hedge trimmers to the property.
The Oxford Wine Company lists the Ambriel Classic Cuvée which has met with much acclaim, including a Silver Medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2016, as well as a Silver Award in the International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2016. The wine is comprised of 70% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir and 3% Pinot Meunier. On the nose it has a rich toasty yeastiness, with ripe apples, citrus zing and fragrant florals on the palate. It is the perfect wine for an aperitif, or indeed for pairing with fish and chips.