UK's Gusbourne Estate Winery Produces Another First

Gusbourne's new Pinot Meunier.

Photo provided

Gusbourne-pinot-meunier

Gusbourne's new Pinot Meunier.

Photo provided

Gusbourne, based in Appledore, Kent, made its name with award-winning bottle-fermented sparkling wines, releasing its first vintage in 2006.

Later, Gusbourne was amongst the first to bring out still wines, both critically acclaimed: the Chardonnay Guinevere and the still Pinot Noir from its Boot Hill Vineyard. Gusbourne thus helped to demonstrate that England, if the weather played ball, could also produce serious still wines.

A still Pinot Meunier

In March 2022, Gusbourne presents another first: a still, red Pinot Meunier. Pinot Meunier is a sibling of Pinot Noir, its buds and shoots almost completely white with fine fluff while mature leaves have a wooly, hairy underside – hence the name meunier, French for miller, since the leaves look like they are dusted with flour. Pinot Meunier is one of the three principal grapes of Champagne, along with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and brings lovely fruit and fleshiness to sparkling wine blends. Vinifying it as a still wine has some tradition in Württemberg, Germany, but turning it into red wine is unusual in the rest of the world, let alone England.

An exceptional year

Gusbourne's chief winemaker Charlie Holland said: “We had never made a 100% Meunier before, mainly because conditions meant it didn’t have the kind of ripeness to stand on its own. Until 2020 – it was a really exceptional year, and we knew that when we started testing ripeness levels for our still red Pinot Noir. What has developed after time in tank and under cork is a still red wine of exceptional character.”

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