Hambledon Classic Cuvée NV, 2017 Base

This tasting saw the latest 2017-based Classic Cuvée down at 4.5 g/l, where a finely-sanded texture delivers clear and elegant citrus fruit. The style is frank, yes, but the freshness is appreciable. It really needs some more time, though. At 4.5g it is a touch severe with this youthfulness. I would expect the score to climb with later disgorgements of this vintage base.

15.5

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ 2017 Base, Classic Blend, England, Hambledon, NV

Hambledon Première Cuvée NV, 2013 Base

Première Cuvée shows an appreciable depth of toasted bread surrounding the bristling, fresh-lemon Chardonnay. At just 2 g/l the powerful citrus core is almost rampant on the palate. Quite an exciting style, although once again I found myself charmed a little more by the freshness of the entry-level wine.

16

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ 2013 Base, Classic Blend, England, Hambledon, NV

Hambledon Première Cuvée Rosé NV, 2015 Base

This was my second taste of wonderfully-bonkers Première Cuvée Rosé, a zero dosage wine from 100% Pinot Meunier in the 2015 vintage. Deep, dark and curious, this is developing post-disgorgement like a fairly openly-stanced light red with its dried leaves and plums. A proper conversation piece to drink sooner rather than later.

15.5

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ 2015 Base, England, Hambledon, NV, Rosé

Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé NV

The contrast of the Première Cuvée Rosé with the LED-bright Classic Cuvée Rosé NV is quite something, its 90% Chardonnay motoring off with massive acidic brightness in a mineral, racy wine that is almost a polaroid negative of the other, Pinot-led Rosés in the room. A real pick-me-up.

16

Date Tasted : 07/02/2020

/ England, Hambledon, NV, Rosé

Hambledon Première Cuvée NV, 2013 Base

73% Chardonnay, 24% Pinot Noir, 3% Pinot Meunier. This is the current release as of Autumn 2019. Gentle apricot and subtle orchard fruits sit with some classic ripe citrus notes without being screamingly appley or lemony – I wrote Asian Pear Tart, which isn’t a food that exists (to my knowledge) – as well as lovely sweet anise and almond. There is perhaps a slight starkness to the finish, as you’d expect with dosage this low, but the extra lees time here helps mitigate that and turn it more into a thirst-quenching snap of the tail than a wincing tartness. Very fine.

16.5

Date Tasted : 30/07/2019

/ 2013 Base, Classic Blend, England, Hambledon, NV

Hambledon Classic Cuvée NV, 2015 Base

The red grapes make their mark a bit more in the Classic Cuvée NV* (2015 base. 53% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Noir and 16% Pinot Meunier), with a delicious savoury-toned nose of hedgerow berries, brown bread and ripe yellow fruits. Some floral sweetness, too. It’d be hard to say this wasn’t as engaging as the Première Cuvée on the nose; it’s friendlier but delicious, with real poise on the palate (if not the intensity or length of the Première). They certainly complement each other.

16

Date Tasted : 30/07/2019

/ 2015 Base, Classic Blend, England, Hambledon, NV

Hambledon Première Cuvée Rosé Dosage Zero 2015

The Première Cuvée Rosé Dosage Zero NV (100% Pinot Meunier with 48 months on lees) is a bold wine; there is certainly nothing quite like this coming from England at the moment. Think plum skin, crabapple jelly and wild red cherry jam, touched by savoury nuances like tar and even dried leaves. There is a touch of light marmalade and set-honey development here too. This has avoided bitterness or extraction on the palate, normally so noticeable in very dry Rosés – some roundness and creaminess fills out the mid palate and keeps the wine moving before a gentle hedgerow tartness closes it off. Drink soon after release.

16

Date Tasted : 30/07/2019

/ 2015, England, Hambledon, Rosé