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The Story of Gusbourne Estate

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We've just launched our first English wine, and love its story so much that we wanted to tell it to you...
The first mention of Gusbourne Estate dates way back to 1410, in John de Gosborne's will. The estate passed to Philip Chute, a man of distinction and great wealth who won fame and the gratitude of Henry VIII at the siege of Boulogne on September 14th 1544. He had served as the standard bearer to the men of arms of the Kings Band. ‘Goosbourne’ as it was known then, carried the characteristic three geese crest that now adorns the small parish church in Appledore, Kent, as well as all bottles of Gusbourne Estate wine.

Gusbourne Estate
The wines are handmade
The wines are handmade, but the Estate has grown fast in recent years and is now one of the largest vineyards in England.
The Estate is still a Kentish family business, and their team of harvesters is always made up of locals - often older people - which is highly unusual for English grape harvests. Their vineyards have expanded to include prime grape-growing locations in West Sussex, and all them are located on south-facing slopes so that the vines can bask in the relatively warm and dry local microclimates all summer. The sea moderates the weather, providing a long growing season and allowing for all the flavours to develop in the grapes. The Estate’s clay and sandy loam soils also contribute heavily to the production of exceptional quality grapes.
The Family - The Estate - The Grape
The family believes that great wines are created in the vineyards, so they never compromise on the care of the Estate. The vines are custom-selected and combined to suit the specific conditions of each site, and they take huge pride in adopting sustainable farming methods, using the most up-to-date agricultural equipment and sticking to the latest international standards and practices.
They also strictly limit the number of grape bunches on each vine, in order to grow much higher quality grapes, and even use leaf blowers to expose the fruit to the sun and reduce the risk of disease. Grapes are hand-picked, using small crates and are harvested only when they are fully ripe. Harvesting is a time of hard work, but is also cause for great collaboration and celebration in Appledore.
Harvesting is a time of hard work
The attention to detail in the management of the Estate is matched with the aim of making modern yet authentic sparkling wines in the English artisanal tradition. The combination of high technology and old traditions in the winemaking process ensures individuality, integrity and balance in all the Gusbourne Estate wines.
Immediately after harvesting in early October, both white and black grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) are gently pressed, producing clear juices. These juices are collected in stainless steel tanks and cool fermented for around three weeks using carefully chosen yeast strains. A little of the juice is aged in small oak barrels for blending later.
Aged in small oak barrels
The resulting base wines are monitored and tasted to help the winemaker build a 'picture' of the various wines for future blending.
Once blended, the wines are filtered for bottling. Following the classic Champagne method, secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle, with at least 22 months of ageing. Then comes the traditional process of opening the bottles, removing the yeast deposits and the addition of a little grape juice before further ageing.
The wines are aged far longer than officially required in order that the flavours match the Gusbourne house style, and are only released for sale once the family are completely satisfied that they meet their standards of quality.
So, with a whole lot of hard work and a good dose of English sunshine going into every bottle of Gusbourne Estate sparkling wine, it’s no surprise that it is getting outstanding reviews. In 2013, Gusbourne Estate received two awards at the International Wines and Spirits Competition (IWSC) Awards.
Click here for tasting notes and to try a bottle (or 6) of our rather special Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2009.

Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2009

Gusbourne Brut Reserve


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