With breathtaking scenery, sprawling views of the South Downs and sparkling wines galore, Niamh Walsh discusses the beautiful Exton Park; home to 60 acres of lush vineyards that are carefully grown, nurtured and harvested to produce something rather extraordinary… exquisite English wine.
Described as “60 acres of Hampshire, bottled”, Exton Park prides itself on being locally sourced, ensuring the consistent, high-quality production of exceptional English sparkling wines. As a single vineyard producer, their unique approach to sustainable winemaking and commitment to creating a natural ecosystem situates them in a niche position. The importance placed in the distinct “magic” chalky soil found in all nine plots is carefully nurtured by the vineyard director Fred Langdale and his team, who use the most natural methods possible to meticulously cultivate their 120,000 vines and, come harvest time, select the ripest grapes to be swiftly transported to the purpose-built winery at the top of their vineyard. The grapes are pressed plot-by-plot, in order to retain the variety of distinctive flavours and then the fresh juice is fermented for the first time, creating still wines which are added to Exton Park’s special reserve library.
Furthermore, Exton Park's decision to work as naturally as possible with the environment around them, promoting biodiversity and supporting their local ecosystem highlights their strong commitment towards sustainability. A founding member of WineGB’s ‘Sustainable Wines of Great Britain’ accreditation, the estate's conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint is evident in both the vineyard and the winery.
The Wine Director, Corinne Seely
Delightfully French in almost every way you could imagine, the fabulous, fervently passionate and experienced wine director Corinne Seely, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the launch night of Exton Park's new wine, the Pinot Meunier Rosé Plot 4, takes the creative control in the production of the wine. Drawing on experience gained in Bordeaux where Seely began her career as a winemaker at the prestigious grand cru classé Domaine de Chevalier, she truly advocates for the production of consistently high quality, innovative and excellent wine at Exton Park.
Discussing why she wanted to create wine (in England of all places!) as we sipped on the delicious fruits of her labour, Seely asserted,
"I've always liked a challenge and making premium quality wines in England has been my best challenge ever. English wine for me is about innovation, creation and freedom. The English wine industry still has less restrictions than some of the world’s more established wine regions so I feel freer here. I’ve always been passionate about creating a distinctive style and identity for English sparkling wine because the terroir here, and in particular at Exton Park, is so interesting.”
Paired with these exquisite wines were carefully selected hor d'oeuvres prepared by [email protected]. As a wine novice myself, I was keen to be enlightened about the science of food and wine pairings and the importance of synergy. You see, synergy is the ultimate objective - the wine and food must combine to create a totally new and superior gastronomic effect. Wine should always compliment the food and not dominate it.
Speaking about her love of cooking, Seely spoke about her upbringing, "I’m French so I grew up in a family who likes to cook, to eat and to drink". So, it is therefore no surprise that Exton Park partnered with (3 time) Michelin star chef Simon Rogan to create The Simon Rogan Dining Experience at Exton Hall.
Simon Rogan’s highly acclaimed farm-to-table ethos will be coming together with Exton Park’s distinguished wines to create an extraordinary evening on Friday 30th September, set against the elegant backdrop of the magnificent Exton Hall. Oli Marlow (Executive Chef of Roganic & Aulis Hong Kong and Aulis London) has designed a meticulous four-course menu, showcasing the finest seasonal ingredients and quality produce from Rogan’s sustainable ‘Our Farm’ in the Cartmel Valley. Paired alongside Exton Park’s exceptional sparkling wines and some hand-selected still wines chosen by Corinne, it will be a guaranteed night to remember. The evening will also be an exclusive opportunity to experience two of Britain’s finest artisans come together for a truly unique food and wine experience.
Exton Park also recently launched The Vault, their exclusive members only wine club that offers "a true taste of luxury" and a host of hand-picked benefits. Some highlights include:
12 bottles of their signature Reserve Blend wines per year
Priority access to buy their very special Limited Release wines before they go on general release, such as the new Pinot Meunier Rosé Plot 4
Invitations to exclusive Vault member previews and tastings and Vault member access for events hosted at Exton Hall, such as the Simon Rogan Dining Experience
Exton Park Vineyard
Exton Park Vineyard,
Allens Farm Lane, Exton,
Email: [email protected]
Phone Number: 01489 878 788