Ian has assembled a team with roots that stretch to Champagne but that are very pleased to be digging in in the southern England.

In part 1 Brendan Barratt talks to Ian and Antoine about Hambledon’s ambition for style, balance and precision. Although technical, this mini-series should be of interest to those who want to see how English wine is positioning itself in the fine sparkling wine market place with a determined focus on standing shoulder to shoulder with their French cousins in Champagne.

In part 2 we’ll be looking at food pairings, the terroir and what that magical food pairing is that English southerners will never get right (you can take the lad out of Yorkshire, but you can’t take Yorkshire out of the lad!).

In Part 3, Champagne trained winemaker at Hambledon, Antoine Arnauld takes us on quick tour of the winery and comes up with a controversial food pairing that we put to the test with the ladies…

 Hambledon VineyardGlossary:

Autolysis (“Autolytic character”): When a wine is “sur lie”, or “on the lees”, it is left in contact with the spent yeats that performed the fermentation. As these yeast cells break down, they provide an extra dimension of flavour, viscosity, and complexity to the wine.



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As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.


Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.


The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.


Driving into the Entre-Deux-Mers region from the north, the vineyards roll out like a bright green deep-pile carpet across the undulating land. It’s hard not to be excited about tasting wines with so much heritage, as we head to Chateau-Sainte-Marie to meet with 5th generation owner, Stéphane Dupuch. 


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