Crawthorne, Dorset, England
English classical – and natural – elegance
Building on his father’s dream, Justin Langham transformed a small rudimentary vineyard into the 12 hectares that now supply the fruit to Langham Wine Estates. In less than ten years running as a fully-fledged commercial winery, Langham have won international reputation for their range of elegant, complex, terroir-driven wines.
Location: Crawthorne, Dorset, England
Working with us since: 2020
Total area under vine: 30 acres (12.1 hectares)
Our pick of the best wine from this producer: Pinot Meunier
Interesting fact: Langham produces one of the few single varietal Pinot Meunier sparklings, not only in England but in the world. Even though Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have historically become the headliners of the champagne star trio of grapes, Meunier (as it is now known) is capable of producing truly complex wines with amazing ageing potential that are much sought after by true connoisseurs. Langham’s is a great example.
Langham Agricultural Enterprise is a beautiful estate, now spanning over 1000 hectares, at the core of which is the beautiful Bingham’s Melcombe manor house. Acquired by John Langham in 1980, the manor became the centre and symbol of John’s agricultural venture. The dream of one day growing grapes and making his own wine made him plant a small rudimentary vineyard in a corner of the property.
After taking over his father at the helm of the estate, Justin decided to take the dream one step further and turn John’s small patch of vines into a true commercial venture. In 2009 he planted the 30 acres that would become the Crawthorne vineyard: a sheltered south-facing slope, 90 metres above sea level, with a shallow clay & loam soil, rich in fling and layered over deep Cretaceous chalk. This is, both Justin and experts believe, the perfect terroir for the three champagne varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier – allowing them to express elegance, freshness and fine salinity.
These are precisely the trademarks of Langham’s wines, made from the champagne trio and exclusively with fruit grown at Crawthorne. Over the years, working with a focus on sustainability and low intervention, they have built a reputation for wines that are complex, vibrant and true to their place. The grapes are handpicked and pre-selected in the vineyard before being taken to the winery, located right next to it to ensure that transport times are minimised and all freshness is retained. Their top cuvées, Corallian and Culver, include a significant percentage of reserve wines and are among some of the most complex and elegant English bubbles.
The project has further evolved with Tommy Grimshaw coming in as chief winemaker in January 2020 after two years assisting Daniel Ham. He plans to continue and develop the ethos of minimal intervention to produce world class sparkling wines without fining or filtration and minimal SO2 additions.