Albourne Estate launches England’s first frizzante

Albourne Estate in Sussex has launched what it claims is England’s first frizzante wine made from Bacchus grapes from the 2018 vintage.

Frizzante - Albourne Estate

Vineyard owner Alison Nightingale has produced 3,500 bottles of the Bacchus Frizzante 2018.

Bacchus was chosen for the lightly sparkling frizzante, which Nightingale describes as lighthearted, fruit focused and dry. She said: “The grape has a natural exuberance and a lightness of touch.”

In contrast to the estate’s bottle fermented sparkling wines, the 12.5% ABV Bacchus Frizzante, pale in colour, has a youthful and fresh nature achieved by Charmat/tank fermentation: the same process used to make Prosecco and sparkling wines made from more aromatic grapes like Muscat. This results in a more fruit-driven wine.

Frizzante, the Italian word for semi-sparkling, refers to wines which usually undergo secondary fermentation in tank. This process is shortened, or less sugar is added, in order for the pressure to remain between 1 and 2.5 bar, compared with spumante (fully sparkling) wines which have at least 3 bar.

The Bacchus Frizzante has a lighter fizz – around a third of the estate’s sparkling wines – because only a small amount of sugar was added on second fermentation. This means the wine can be bottled with a screw cap, rather than the heavier weighted glass with a cork and wire cage used for sparkling wine.

The 2018 vintage is presented in a clear bottle with a screw cap and image of Brighton’s West Pier, as the winery is located behind the South Downs, 10 miles away from Brighton itself.

The Bacchus Frizzante is the second Italian-influenced product created by Nightingale with her Sicilian wine consultant Salvatore Leone. Last year the pair developed the first Sussex vermouth.

Called ‘40’ in honour of the 40 different botanicals in the blend, the 18% ABV semi-dry vermouth was created by Nightingale, who was keen to put an English twist on an Italian classic.

“There is a revival of interest in vermouth – it’s a popular ingredient in Negroni, the cocktail of the moment, and we’re starting to see vermouth bars opening in London in a trend that began in New York,” Nightingale said.

“Our mission is to remind people to really appreciate the blend of botanicals by drinking vermouth straight,” she added.

The abundant quality crop in 2018 enabled Albourne Estate to experiment with new projects, one of them being the Bacchus Frizzante.

“The ideal growing conditions – with no frost while the vines flowered, a warm summer and dry September – created an opportunity to be more experimental with our Bacchus and more selective with our grapes,” says Nightingale.

Last year she expanded the vineyard by a hectare to 12.6 hectares of planted vines, 21% of which are Bacchus.

Albourne Estate also produces a white Pinot Noir and a barrel fermented Ortega and Chardonnay blend, as well as a blanc de blancs, blanc de noirs, sparkling rosé and a flagship fizz made from the three Champagne varieties, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.

Among the English wineries to have released fizz produced using the charmat method include West Sussex’s Fitz Wine,  Norfolk’s Flint Vineyard and drinks brand The Uncommon, which released the first English wine in a can.

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