Sugrue South Downs is the personal project of celebrated English sparkling winemaker Dermot Sugrue. Sugrue has been the winemaker behind many of England's best sparkling wines over the last 10 years. Previously the winemaker at Nyetimber, he left in 2006 to establish the Wiston Estate Winery. The same year he also planted a one hectare vineyard in Storrington Priory which has been in full production since 2009, producing the highly acclaimed and multi award-winning sparkling wine ‘The Trouble with Dreams’. In 2017, the truly exceptional ‘The Trouble with Dreams 2013’, took the top spot in the Independent English Wine Awards; in 2019, the 2014 vintage was awarded Gold at IWC and more recently, Sugrue was given the highest rating of all English producers by Hugh Johnson in his Pocket Wine Book 2020.
This wine has been produced from Multiple Vintages, (MV). The fruit comes predominantly from the 2014 vintage, but also contains reserve wines from the 2009 and 2011 vintages.
80% of the grapes came from the exceptional Mount Harry Vineyard near Lewes, in East Sussex, which sits at 70 metres above sea-level. 20% of the fruit is sourced from the Storrington Priory Vineyard, located at 50 metres above sea-level. Both of the vineyards are located in Sussex, above the 50th parallel and are influenced by a cool coastal climate. Planted in 2006, the vineyards have east and south-easterly aspects encouraging the maximum exposure to the sun, assisting ripening in this capricious climate. The Storrington Priory vineyard consists of greensand soils which impart rounder, fruit profile in the resulting wine. The Mount Harry vineyard is made up of clay loam over pure chalk soils, without flint, which provide superior drainage for the vines, as well as imparting great elegance and finesse to the wines.
This wine was vinified without additional dosage - a zero dosage wine. The grapes were hand-picked at optimal maturity and when they have reached the perfect balance between concentrated flavours and refreshing acidity. The fruit was then whole bunch pressed in the traditional Coquard Champagne basket press. 50% was fermented with selected yeasts in stainless steel tanks, with malolactic conversion and 50% was fermented in 500 litre old oak barrels without malolactic. The old oak imparts texture, finesse and focus, which results in silkiness and elegant expressions in the resulting wine, rather than overt oaky flavours. The secondary fermentation took place in the bottle as per the traditional English sparkling method.