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Chapel Down pioneers England's first Albariño

Published:  04 February, 2016

The Kent-based Chapel Down winery has released England's first single-varietal Albariño.

The grapes for the Chapel Down Albariño 2014 were grown in England's only commercial Albariño vineyard, which is situated in Sandhurst on the Kentish Weald.

One third of the wine was fermented in old French oak barrels to add texture and complexity.

The balance was fermented in stainless steel to preserve the grape's aromatic qualities.

Both wines underwent malolactic fermentation and were matured for an extended period on lees before blending and bottling.

Albariño is usually associated with the Iberian peninsula and Galician or Vinho Verde wines. It appealed because England's coastal climate is similar to that enjoyed by the varietal in north-west Spain.

Chapel Down is interested in exploring the potential for different varietals and vinicultural techniques in England.

Chapel Down Albariño 2014

Last year, its Chapel Down Orange Bacchus 2014 was England's first skin contact white wine.

Josh Donaghay-Spire, winemaker at Chapel Down, said: "With England still being a relatively young wine region, there is the opportunity to better understand the terroir and the potential of different varieties. 

"As a winemaker, the opportunity to work with a new style and produce the first wine of its kind in England is hugely exciting; although it comes with a certain responsibility to do the fruit justice."

The Chapel Down Albariño 2014 has an abv of 12.5% and will retail for £15.

It is currently available to purchase from