Sugrue South Downs

South Downs

Dermot and Ana Sugrue make exceptional wines that crackle with energy. They’re vignerons in the traditional sense of the word, deeply rooted in their vineyards and the winemaking, they recently purchased Bee Tree Vineyard near Lewes where they're building their own winery. In addition to Bee Tree they have long-term contracts to manage Mount Harry and Coldharbour Vineyards in Sussex. Mount Harry has 2.3ha of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier planted on pure Sussex chalk. Grapes from here form the backbone of their signature cuvée, The Trouble with Dreams, and Zodo MV. Coldharbour Vineyard is about an hour west, it’s a south facing natural amphitheatre on the edge of the downs with clay/sand soil over a bedrock of chalk. The tense and saline Cuvée Boz comes from here. Bee Tree Vineyard is the most recent site in their winemaking palette, soils here are clay over lower-greensands, providing a contrast to the chalk terroir of their other vineyards. Dermot explained that greensands bring a roundness and fruit to wines, whereas wines from chalky sites are steely and linear, they can be austere when young but have the bones to age really well. Sugrue work organically ‘at soil level’ using mechanical cultivation for weed control. Meticulous farming and the naturally low yields you get in the cool UK climate give the wines an impressive concentration. They use 50% of the juice from the first press; fermentation is in stainless steel and neutral oak, since 2013 they've worked with 500 and 600 litre barrels: "Big barrels give finesse to sparkling wine". The wines spend four-six years sur lie and a minimum of six months on cork before release. Sugrue South Downs scored a hattrick at this year’s WineGB awards: Cuvée Boz Coldharbour Single Vineyard 2015 was named best Blanc de Blancs; Cuvée Dr Brendan O’Regan MV was awarded Best NV/MV Classic Cuvée; and Sugrue South Downs was named Best Boutique Producer, for the second year running. It’s nice to win awards but we think the wines speak very eloquently for themselves.

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