Roebuck Estates Classic Cuvée 2014

Roebuck Estates Classic Cuvée 2014, 12%, Sussex, UK

(Enquiries via website)

One of the wonderful things about working in wine is the potential for making new discoveries. Roebuck Estates is my most recent.

Until mid-June, I hadn’t heard of Roebuck. It was only after chairing the WineGB Awards that I discovered we’d given one of only 39 gold medals to the estate’s Classic Cuvée 2014.

This sparkling wine is a delicious blend of 47% Chardonnay with 38% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier that exudes spice, truffle and baked bread aromas followed by a dry (7g/l) but rounded and creamy palate with overtones of caramelized nuts. (Susie, 8/10, June 2019)

A little bit of online digging revealed that this is only the second vintage from Roebuck Estates, though the oldest vines were planted back in 2006 in the Upperton vineyard in Sussex.

Peter and I are familiar with Upperton Vineyards, historically a separate producer, from a meeting in 2015 with the son of the then owner, when we tasted through his range, which was very promising. Is this a new incarnation? We’ll find out – if so, things have clearly moved on since then and the brilliant Emma Rice (head winemaker at Hattingley Valley in Hampshire) is now making the wines and doing a terrific job as ever.

We’re not sure who owns Roebuck now or what their exact plans are for the future but that will hopefully be our next discovery and one we very much look forward to making soon.

In the meantime, here, in PDF format, are the full results of the WineGB Awards 2019: GB Wine Awards Results 2019

The news was picked up and given subtly different takes in publications from The Drinks Business to The Argus (Sussex) and harpers.

There’s still one installment to come, too. The trophies (the best of the best) will be announced on 23rd July. More news anon…

Below are some photos from the judging, which took place in mid-June, taken by the brilliant Tom Gold.

It was a fascinating exercise, as ever, tasting through 254 of the best English and Welsh wines to find those worth of Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals. Not to mention a privilege to judge alongside my fellow co-chair Oz Clarke and brilliant judges Sam Caporn MW, Pierpaolo Petrassi MW, Richard Hemming MW, Sue Daniels, Phil Tuck MW, Christine Parkinson, Nik Darlington, Jane Parkinson, Matthieu Longuere MS and Simon Field MW.

One notable result was how well the still wines did. Sparkling wines won 53% of the medals – but still wines won 47%, including 14 golds, 24 silvers and 87 bronzes. Not bad going, and perhaps a sign of how good the 2018 vintage was.