Exton Park is based in the Meon Valley, in Hampshire’s South Downs. With its chalky soils, this area is rapidly becoming a hot spot for sparkling wine production, with Hambledon and Coates & Seely close by.
The first vineyards at Exton Park were planted in 2003. In 2009, just as a second planting phase had taken place, it was purchased by Malcolm Isaac. Malcom had recently sold his company, Vitacress, which sold watercress to supermarkets. For the first couple of years he sold the grapes to Coates & Seely, and then in 2011 he decided to expand the vineyard and make his own wines. So he hired Corinne Seely as winemaker, and built a new winery. These are the first releases, and they’re really good.
Exton Park only uses estate grapes, but with 55 acres under vine, they now have quite a few to play with. The quality of the pressing is a key aspect of sparkling wine quality, and Corinne uses a Bucher press fitted with the Inertys system, which is a sort of nitrogen lung that keeps oxygen away from the press.
Exton Park Blanc de Blancs 2011 Hampshire, England
11.5% alcohol. From the pure chalk soils at the top of the hill, this is the first vintage wine to be released from Exton Park. Fine, pure and fruity with real finesse. Hints of honey and subtle toast accompany the core of bright citrus fruit. Taut lemony palate with nice acidity and pure fruit flavours, with some quince and a hint of ginger. Distinctive and fine. 91/100
Exton Park Brut NV Hampshire, England
11.5% alcohol. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. Taut citrus fruit nose with some fine toasty notes. Linear, pure and bright with a subtle creamy texture. There’s purity and focus here. Bright and fresh, showing keen acidity. 90/100
Exton Park Blanc de Noirs NV Hampshire, England
11.5% alcohol. 85% older plantings, 15% younger vines. Fruity and aromatic on the nose with attractive citrus, cherry and ripe apple. The palate is lemony and precise with keen acidity. Such focus! Very youthful with high acidity. 91/100
Exton Park Rosé NV Hampshire, England
11.5% alcohol. Pale salmon pink. There’s a lovely green leafy, herby edge to the redcurrant and cherry fruit nose. The palate is appley with some red fruits and nice fresh, slightly sappy, herby hints. Very fruity with good acidity. Bright and laser sharp, but not harsh. 90/100