Bridging the realms of history, geology, and viniculture, award-winning Amber Valley Vineyards is thrilled to announce a unique collaboration with the amazing Derbyshire award-winning tourism attraction, Heights of Abraham, located in Matlock Bath. This visionary initiative will place 200 bottles of Amber Valley’s sparkling pink wine from the outstanding 2022 vintage deep within the historic Rutland Cavern, a place with a legacy of its own.
The region’s fascinating geology and connection with the mineral Galena, an ore of lead and silver, mined since Roman times, provides an evocative backdrop to this venture. The Great Rutland Cavern, earlier known as the Nestus mine, has a history rich in mining activities tracing back to at least the medieval era. This collaboration symbolically unites Derbyshire’s mineral-rich past with its promising vinicultural present.
Long lees ageing, a technique where sparkling wine is allowed to mature on its ‘lees’ (residual yeast particles) for an extended period, will be employed. Historically favoured by prestigious champagne estates, this method offers wines additional complexity and depth of flavour. Underground locations, like Rutland Cavern, provide the consistently cool temperatures, stable humidity levels, and protection from light, all essential for producing exceptional sparkling wines.
Barry Lewis, owner of Amber Valley Vineyard, remarked on this historic partnership: “Our ambition to produce a limited-release prestige sparkling wine found its perfect setting within the storied depths of Rutland Cavern. Derbyshire’s mining history, combined with our innovative spirit, will craft a wine echoing both tradition and modernity.
We are aiming to long-lees age the wine in Rutland Cavern for at least two and a half years and post disgorging the wine will be allowed some quiet bottle time before being released but it should be worth the wait. And when we do, we should hopefully have something quite extraordinary.
We’ve long wanted to work in a partnership of this nature in our home county of Derbyshire, we have a unique county with a unique history and story to tell and this collaboration with the Heights of Abraham really is a perfect example of that. We’re weaving a new story, utilising that unique history and bringing wine, nature and history together to tell it.”
Expressing his enthusiasm, Rupert Pugh, Development Director and member of the Pugh family, custodians of the Heights of Abraham, stated: “This partnership with Amber Valley Vineyards is a celebration of Derbyshire’s rich heritage. The confluence of our historical attraction with the nuanced craft of winemaking promises an unparalleled experience. Over the centuries the Rutland Cavern has been used for many things, from candlelit concerts to spectacular weddings, including one where the bride was lowered down the cavern shaft on a rope to meet her new husband! Soldiers used to store their artillery and dynamite in the caverns, and now a new historic partnership has begun with Amber Valley Vineyard. We look forward to serving this unique sparkling wine in our Vista restaurant in the future.”
This sparkling wine, a masterful blend of around 70% estate grown Seyval Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, hails from Amber Valley’s Doehole vineyard, situated near Wessington and Ashover, and is being crafted by winemaker Jack Abbott of Three Choirs Vineyards, Gloucestershire, the long-time winemaking partner of Amber Valley Vineyards, who added: “This Amber Valley Rose from the exciting 2022 vintage is a typical sparkling blend for the region, with 85% Seyval Blanc for the body and Pinot Noir and Meunier adding interest with their classic red fruit and floral characteristics. The gentle pressing of the grapes and aging on fine lees prior to secondary fermentation have created a wine which is textured with bright acidity, ideal for sparkling wine production. Aging in these caves with their stable temperature and dim lighting should provide the ideal environment to allow this wine to age gracefully on lees for years to come; maturing to what we believe will be an exciting and complex wine.”
Amber Valley Vineyards have previously released sparkling wine vintages, which have been small but perfectly formed and highly sought after, have included Lindway Brook 2018, a white sparkling wine made in the méthode traditionnelle or traditional method, of secondary fermentation in the bottle and Lindway Brook Pink 2019. Both these wines have won international awards for their quality, comparing favourably with high quality grower Champagnes.
As history enthusiasts and wine aficionados await this unique sparkling wine, Derbyshire stands poised to mark another significant chapter in its storied legacy.