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We set out over a decade ago with a passion – to create from scratch, in a magical corner of the English countryside, outstanding English sparkling wines that will ultimately rival the very best the world has to offer.
From the outset we knew all our focus had to be on creating and managing outstanding vineyards, where grapes could slowly grow and ripen on the vine every year for more than the magical hundred days. Fine wines require grapes have the ‘hang time’ on the vine to develop all the complex aromas and flavours before the sugar levels, which respond to accumulated temperatures, get too high.
Our wines are made for people from around the world who love carefully crafted and beautiful wines. We hope people who spend time with us will feel a part of the passing rhythms of the seasons and experience the calm and beauty at the heart of the English countryside.
Working closely with Pierre Marie Guillaume and his son Francois, from Charcenne in the Burgundy Franche-Comté region of France, we carefully segmented our vineyard into ten parcels, each with their own aspect, slopes and soils, and now all filled with different Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines. We selected some classics such as Chardonnay 95 on the thin soils and steep slopes of our ‘Amphitheatre’ Vineyard and Pinot Noir 115 on the gentle East facing slopes where a lengthy growing and ripening season could allow them to fully express their potential.
We also chose some more modern variations with characteristics we felt confident would express well in England. Finally we focused carefully on the rootstocks which would be required to protect us from dreaded Phylloxera aphids while allowing the vines to cope with our alkaline soils, ultimately settling on Fercal and 3309 across the differing parcels.
The latest Coquard presses gently press bunches within minutes of harvesting and deliver clear, clean musts to wooden foudres and temperature controlled stainless steel vats as they begin their long journey into fine wines.
From the moment the presses flow with fresh musts the sole objective is to protect the delicate flavours and aromas of our wines both from the ravages of oxygen and the interference of other compounds. Otherwise we work hard to do as little as possible to our wines as they mature, evolve and develop complexity.
Our wines vary naturally year by year and our winemaking is always minimalist in style allowing as pure a vintage expression of our vineyard as possible. We have no need to fine our wines, so all our wines are vegan, and we only apply the gentlest of filters, after the wines have been cooled to crystallise out naturally the tartrates that otherwise will interfere with the disgorging of our wines. Clear fine lees allow battonage where appropriate and precision control systems help us keep base wines in ideal conditions before we restart fermentation many months after harvest. The wines then age on their lees for years until they are finally ready to have the yeasts removed and replaced with base wine dosage liquers made from the same vintage as the bottled wines. The wines are then given many months to reintegrate after disgorging, until finally being released for sale.