A zero-dosage sparkling rosé made from 100% Pinot meunier has been launched by Hambledon.

The Hampshire-based producer has used hand harvested fruit mainly from the 2015 harvest, with some barrel-aged reserve wines added to the blend.

After a cold pre-fermentation soak for 12 hours, fermentation took place at 18°C in stainless steel tanks. The wine was produced in the saignée method, using only the free-run juice to concentrate flavours and manage yield. Malolactic fermentation took place to soften the acidity. The wine was then left to rest on fine lees for six months before blending with reserve wines. Bottling took place in June 2016 and the wine underwent a minimum of 35 months ageing on lees, with potential for ageing.

Distributor Fields Morris and Verdin has described the Première Cuvée Rosé, as: “vibrant, deep, salmon pink colour with a brick orange hue on the rim The nose is powerful, with notes of strawberry, cherry compote and violet interlaced with aromas of smoke and tobacco. The intensity continues on the palate, with a ripe core of red fruit evolving into toast and hazelnut on the mid-palate. The texture is generous and complex with an earthy, mineral finish.”

Hambledon’s founder and managing director, Ian Kellett, observes Pinot Meunier as a historically underrated variety that is rarely expressed. This new cuvée was created from a premise of exploring the potential of Pinot meunier when grown on quality, ancient chalk soils, while giving the estate’s winemaking team a chance to experiment.

The Première Cuvée Rosé stands alone from the rest of the range. Ian describes the wine simply as “an unusual drink”, free from categorisation as a gastronomic, vinous style of English sparkling wine.