THE WINEMAKER FILES Charlie Holland, Gusbourne Charlie has been involved in making Gusbourne wines since 2008, but officially joined as head winemaker in 2013 and oversaw the building of the new winery. After studying business and marketing, he discovered his passion for winemaking whilst working in Australia. He went to Plumpton College to complete his winemaking studies before embarking on winemaking stints in France, Germany, New Zealand and California
It was never my intention to get into English wine. I always thought I’d be somewhere hotter, a bit more exotic and a bit more exciting I guess. However, the opportunity came
to work back in England and at just the right time – England is probably one of the most exciting and vibrant places to make wine today.
In the last 10 or 15 years there’s been a seismic shift to thinking: wow, we can create something really special. Watching the industry grow and change right before your eyes is fascinating: all the different styles and personalities coming on board.
England is absolutely New World because we don’t have any winemaking history. We’re still learning how to get the best out of our soils; the best ways to make wine. The
quality has improved dramatically in recent years, but I do believe we are just at the start of that journey. There is the potential to make some truly outstanding wines in England.
We have 14 different vineyards now and we have 40 different clones planted which all have different characters. Some ripen a bit earlier, some a bit later. Some tend to be more fruit-forward and some produce steely, mineral wines. It actually gives us a really
good pallette to do the blending with. Our Kent vineyards tend to be heavier, clay based soils, but you can also find sand, silt and marine deposits. We also have some sites in
West Sussex on chalk – some more loam, some more flint – so the idea is to have a nice patchwork of different types of soil that we can play with.
Being in complete control of your own vineyards is really important from a quality point of view. Where possible we’ll pick everything separately and press everything
separately and ferment everything separately. This year we have up to 200 components that we’re playing with. It’s a lifetime’s project, really. It’s really exciting.
We’re quite often the first in the country to pick for sparkling wine so we often do get quite ripe grapes. We tend to age our wines a bit longer: for our Brut and our Blanc de Blancs especially we try to have at least three years’ lees ageing. For an English wine
it’s more of a mature style. It’s usually four years from harvest to releasing a wine for us.
The first job offerwith I got independents was to work inwho a winery, at Angoves in McLaren Vale. and We want to work are looking for something different, My early days werechosen more laboratory but I got the wine bug andvery have consciously not to selland ourquality winescontrol through supermarkets. We are went to Roseworthy College. I came back to Angoves inthe 1976 and got to more and more committed to the independent sector as we feel this is best place hand-sell our involved. wines and tell the Gusbourne story.
Feature sponsored by Gusbourne www.gusbourne.com
THE WINE MERCHANT MARCH 2018 14
Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2013 RRP £45 “Pale gold with a delicate mousse, this Blanc de Blancs blends classic Chardonnay characters of green apple, citrus and white fruit on the nose, with mineral notes and buttered toast complexity from extended lees ageing.”
Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2013 RRP £35 “This blend highlights red fruit aromas of cherry and strawberry, which develop into attractive fresh pastry notes with a touch of cinnamon and spice. With a bright streak of citrus fruit, the palate is clean and fresh whilst giving tones of soft stone fruit.”
Gusbourne Sparkling Rosé 2014 RRP £40 “Delicate pink, with soft summer berries and floral notes on the nose. The palate shows bright red fruits, driven by ripe strawberries, fresh cherries and redcurrants, with a crisp freshness and creamy, rounded texture on the finish.”
The Wine Merchant issue 67