About Chapel Down Wines
Based in Kent, Chapel Down produces still and sparkling wines as well as beers under Curious Brewing. They are based in Tenterden where the chalky soils (as in Champagne) of the North downs have contributed to their acclaim. Indeed, it is hard to hear about the growing reputation of English sparkling wine without the name Chapel Down coming up. Nowadays you’ll find their sparkling wines sitting on wine lists alongside Champagnes as an often slightly cheaper alternative. It is not cheaper because of the quality, but because it doesn’t have the name Champagne tagged on. In fact, you’d be far better off opting for the Chapel Down because it represents better value for money.
Not only is the climate remarkably similar to that of Champagne but the methods used to make their wines are as well. Chapel Down use the traditional method, which is considered the best around, whereby the wine undergoes its second fermentation in bottle to make their fizz. It is also worth noting that they source their grapes from vineyards across Kent, Sussex and Essex to make sure they have a varied crop allowing them to home in on choosing the best grapes for the job and make micro-adjustments to achieve perfection.
There is growing evidence to suggest that English vineyards are going to become a key source of premium sparkling wine in the future, largely due to climate change. Pommery already have established vineyards and a sparkling, whilst Taittinger have invested in vineyards in Kent. A taste test set up by Matthew Jukes in Paris found that even the French preferred English fizz to their own Champagne. So, now really is the time to make the turn to English sparkling wine if you haven’t already, and why not start with England’s leading producer?
What are Chapel Down Wines?
Chapel Down Brut – a traditional blend of the Champagne trio Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier but with the small addition of Pinot Blanc, lending some body. It is fresh and fruity boasting red apple, lemon, quince and bread dough.
Chapel Down Rosé Brut – A similar blend to the Brut, but with the addition of delicate red fruit flavours. Redcurrant, strawberry and cranberry to name a few make this a great Summer wine.
A Touch of Sparkle – Originally this was their Sparkling Bacchus, however, the winemakers have since decided to put some Chardonnay into the blend with the Bacchus grapes. It is both tropical and floral with flavours of pineapple, grapefruit and elderflower and a gentle mousse.
The still wines
Did you know that English still wine has also made an impression on the wine scene? A number of grape hybrids created in Germany to combat cold climates that you have likely never heard of fill English vineyards and make excellent still wines. Often, they aren’t quite good enough to act as single varietal wines, but when blended can really complement each other and offer seriously good flavours.
Chapel Down Bacchus – One of those grapes that does actually hold up on its own. Bacchus is a delicate, floral grape with flavours of elderflower, lime, grapefruit and melon. It is a crisp wine with good acidity to add to the freshness.
Chapel Down Flint Dry – One of the blends with grapes such as Siegerrebe and Reichensteiner, but it is a majority Chardonnay. This blend creates quite an aromatic style of wine, also crisp, and displays pear and melon notes.
Chapel Down English Rose – This is a delicate style of Rose, much like Provence, but a little more weighty on the palate. Strawberries and cream solidify the Englishness of this wine.
Kit’s Coty: The Premium Selection
Undoubtedly the best of the best from Chapel Down are their Kit’s Coty wines, produced from their best vineyards. Here are a few:
Kit’s Coty Coeur de Cuvee – Giving Grand Marque Champagne a run for its money, the ‘heart’ of the Chapel Down fizz collection is 100% Chardonay. It is rich and elegant with intense purity of fruit.
Kit’s Coty Bacchus – A taste of the excellence of English varieties. These wines undergo wild fermentation, capturing the real essence of the vineyards and creating much more lively flavours. It has rich and pure ripe green apple and elderflower in abundance.
Shop the rest of Kit's Coty here.
This blog was written by our wine expert, David Andrews. Read his Instagram blog @oinosattheoikos