Black Dog Hill
Husband and wife team Jim and Anja Nolan are about as unaffected a pair of winemakers as you would care to meet. They are modest in their achievements but winning a Gold medal with their first vintage (the stellar 2011) is something only a handful of producers can ever claim to have done.
I’ve known the pair of them for years and they are utterly dedicated to the pursuit of producing outstanding, small production sparkling wine which speaks of the land from where it comes.
Founded in 2007 Black Dog Hill is a champion of the evolution of English fizz. Their aim is to lead the emergence of boutique, grower style sparkling wine in this country and they want to produce wines for wine lovers in search of true terroir expression.
Their stunning vineyard (pictured) is nestled against the 830ft Ditchling Beacon, a towering chalk escarpment topped by an ancient Iron Age hill fort and according to legend haunted by the benevolent ghost of a black dog.
The beacon shelters the vines from the extremes of the English weather and they grow happily in the chalky soils, scattered with prehistoric marine fossils.
Their wines are painstakingly crafted by award winning winemaker Dermot Sugrue resulting in a product which is a unique expression of their time and place.