NEW Roebuck Estates Blanc de Noirs 2015

One of the newest English wine producers on the block, Roebuck Estates hit the ground running last year with two trophies at the 2019 Wine GB Awards for its inaugural Classic Cuvée 2014, and has now released its second wine - a Blanc de Noirs from the 2015 vintage.

Established in 2013, Roebuck Estates is located close to the historic market town of Petworth in West Sussex and focuses on traditional-method sparkling wines from the classic trio of Champenoise varietals.  The new Roebuck Estates Blanc de Noirs 2015 is made exclusively from handpicked Pinot Noir grapes grown at their 15-acre Roman Villa Vineyard to the south-east of Petworth.

"I have been eagerly anticipating the release of this wine ever since I set foot in the vineyard in October 2015 and witnessed the quality of the pristine fruit which was carefully being hand-harvested from the site’s gnarled vines,” explains General Manager James Mead.  “Small, but perfectly formed berries and bunches resulted in a juice that had clarity, poise and supreme complexity.  It became very clear that this was to become our first single estate, single varietal wine.”

The Roman Villa Vineyard was planted in 2007 exclusively with Pinot Noir, mixing Burgundian and Champenoise clones in loam / clay rich soils.  This is the only wine that Roebuck Estates produced from the 2015 vintage, such was the quality of the fruit.

“The mixture of the Champenoise and Burgundian clones gives the wine structure, elegance and delicate red berry fruit notes, and the care with which the grapes were handled has enabled a true expression of the perfect fruit and idyllic vineyard setting,” adds James.

The 2015 Harvest

The winter preceding the 2015 growing season was a cold one which, says James, vines tend to enjoy as it encourages a well-earned rest.  Spring arrived later than usual with budburst taking place in early April, thankfully avoiding frosts.  Cooler temperatures in August slowed the growing season down, resulting in a slightly later than normal veraison and enabling the fruit to reach physiological ripeness.  “By harvest time, which officially started on 13th October, the fruit was ripe with perfect acids and we could be incredibly exact on picking dates to ensure optimal levels of sugar, acidity and aromatics,” says James.


After careful selection, the grapes were whole-bunch pressed and partially fermented in French oak casks following by a generous lees-ageing for a minimum of four years.

The wine has a dosage of just 5g/l.  “Once again, this is quite low for a sparkling wine from England [the Classic Cuvée is 7g/l], but we are able to do this because of the quality of our fruit, and also because we keep our bid for complexity front of mind in the winery as well as the vineyard.  We’ll only release a wine once we feel that it has reached its optimum drinking potential, and if that means longer lees ageing, then that is what we will do,” says James.

Total production is around 1200 9-litre cases, and Roebuck Estates has also bottled a small number of magnums which will be released later in the year.


The Label

James concludes, “We joined forces with talented illustrator Jo Beal to create a label that we felt reflected the quality of the wine in the bottle.  Jo’s hand drawings of our beautiful vineyard environment have been transformed into the intricate detail that enriches the bottle.”

Roebuck Estates Blanc de Noirs 2015 is available at RRP £45 from roebuckestates.co.uk.

About Roebuck Estates

Located in the historic market town of Petworth in West Sussex, Roebuck Estates is the brainchild of two Brits, Mike Smith and John Ball, whose love of wine, exacting palates and belief in the potential of the English wine industry sparked several years spent searching for the perfect vineyard plots.  Combining their experience across a broad range of industries to drive their new business forward, the duo began to build their team, establish new vineyards and purchase existing mature sites in a bid to produce exceptional English sparkling wines.


Today, Roebuck Estates owns and manages Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines across Sussex.