Origin: West Sussex
Grape: 50% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay
Launched in 2013, Digby Fine English is a négociant rather than a vineyard - a first for the UK. Working with specially selected growers in Kent, Sussex and Hampshire, the Digby founders, Trevor Clough and Jason Humphries, and winemaker Dermot Sugrue, have access to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes from diverse terroirs. From these, careful and precise winemaking produces traditional method Brut and rosé sparkling wines which are bursting with energy, elegance and balance and more, a distinctive English character.
Champagne, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are the three classic grape varietals used to make Champagne, and traditional method sparkling wines around the world. Each of the "Champagne varietals" add their unique features to the final blend. Chardonnay adds acidity and structure, Pinot Noir adds elegance, perfume and body, and Pinot Meunier adds richness and fruit to the blend. English sparkling wine is primarily made from Champagne varietals as they are perfectly suited to the cool climate and chalky soils found in England.
Sussex is one of the oldest and largest counties in England. It was divided into two districts (West and East) in 1832, and today Sussex has the largest cluster of vineyards in the UK with over 700ha planted and over thirty wine producers.
Sussex vineyards are based on a diverse range of soil types, including the iconic chalk of the South Downs. This major geological feature that runs through East and West Sussex has a significant calcareous influence on Sussex vineyards, providing ideal free draining soils for viticulture.
Sussex also benefits from its high latitude, which gives the opportunity to have a longer growing season, enabling grapes to mature to full ripeness, and the wide diurnal temperature range providing ideal growing conditions for Traditional Method quality sparkling and still wine production.
Sussex is also recognised as one of the sunniest and warmest areas in England, classified as having a ‘maritime climate’, with average rainfall typically between 600-850mm per annum.
The grapes used for Digby wines are carefully sourced from partner vineyards throughout Sussex and Kent. The average age of the vines is around 10 years old, and they are grown on chalky and clay soils. Whole bunches are harvested by hand in October.
"The blend for Leander Pink took me two years to perfect - it had to capture the spirit of a day at the club during Henley Regatta - late June sunshine, a crisp breeze, huge hats and stripy blazers, and Olympic-grade shells racing down the Thames. Quaffable, pale pink luxury, when nothing less will do. Hope it transports you to your happy place!" - Trevor Clough, CEO & Head Blender.