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When we arrived at Ridgeview, they had been up all night on “frost watch”, lighting fires, or bougies, in the vineyards. So effective is this ancient method of frost prevention, that as soon as all of the bougies are lit, they have to go around and put them out! By doing this, they can get the temperatures up by 2-4 degrees quite quickly and this is all they need. Ridgeview have their own weather reporter. The later in May there are frost alerts, the worse, because after then, any bad frosts means that it is very unlikely to have more bud bursts.

Mike Roberts, the charismatic and strongly-opinioned owner, along with his wife, Chris, takes a “bare earth” philosophy to wine-making: irrigation is cheating … compacted ground is a good protection from frost … grass is a natural radiator. He takes the European view that winemakers should not overly intervene or manipulate the wines - except when in bad years when they have to intervene and rescue it. He says that he is slightly skeptical of “terroir”, yet insists that aspect is crucial – cannot “fix” that. As with everything; location, location, location.

This is not a maritime climate, he explains. It is not wet and horrible and damp here. It is semi-Continental, and with its cool nights, resembles that of the Champagne region. It is difficult to change this preconceived and inaccurate image people have of Sussex, and England in general. Ridgeview is sheltered by the Sussex Downs and slopes southwards towards them. Yes, there is mildew and disease problems, but the high hills help keep things dry. The soils are limestone ridge and sandstone at four and five meters, and chalk, providing great acidity and backbone to these award-wining wines. Ridgeview only grows the Champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and only produces sparkling wines. The delight is the fact that each one of these wines is distinct, personable and vastly enjoyable. Equally delightful, as well as intriguing, is the fact that they prefer to keep their technical details an industry secret, even to journalists … which makes me want to know which wine-making practices go on behind those doors that are so vastly unique that they need to be guarded!

Mike Roberts, Ridgeview Estate

2009 GROSVENOR Blanc de blancs

100% Chardonnay. Nose is lovely… clean, elegant, honeyed. On the palate we meet a well-structured and lively body with tropical fruit, notes of toasted almonds and a touch of sweetness but not too much.  The finish is short but clean, no bitterness. 

2009 KNIGHTSBRIDGE Blanc de Noirs
Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This is really nice: toasty nose, full palate, light and lively body with fruity flavours as opposed to savoury and a solid, persistent finish.

Predominantly Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with some Chardonnay. Really refreshing and seductively appealing: You want to go back to it again and again.


Their rose, which is uniquely, Chardonnay dominant, makes for a fresh and elegant wine. Nice nose, nice palate... bubbles are creamy.

This was my least favourite wine. For me, it lacked interest and extracts/weight. But I still enjoyed it!

Sparkling red made from Pinots – it changes every year. I love this. It has so much personality and vivacity. The oak works, the fruit works … it is tightly structured, balanced and restrained, but very perfumed with hints of peppery spices.


Ridgeview Estate Winery

Fragbarrow Lane

Ditching Common

Sussex BN68TP

Tel: 0845 345 7292



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    The Wine Lady & Wine and Climate Change - TASTING NOTES: Diary of a Wine Critic - RIDGEVIEW ESTATE, SUSSEX
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    The Wine Lady & Wine and Climate Change - TASTING NOTES: Diary of a Wine Critic - RIDGEVIEW ESTATE, SUSSEX

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