AN Alresford family-run vineyard has been awarded a Silver Medal in the WVA Wine of the Year competition.

Raimes Vineyard is in Tichborne near Alresford is the newest wine in the county. The vines were first planted on the Raimes family farm in April 2011.

The first release from Raimes is a Blanc de Noirs. This wine is made with three classic champagne grapes; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and harvested by hand by the Raimes family.

The result say the vineyard is “an elegant, pale gold, fresh and well balanced sparkling wine, bottle fermented in the traditional method”.

The wine spent 24 months on the lees which according to the vineyard give the wine more creaminess and texture.

The Blanc de Noirs Brut is made by award winning winemakers Emma Rice and Jacob Leadley in the traditional method with a long second stage of fermentation in the bottle. It has spent 26 months gently developing on lees before riddling and disgorgement. Only 900 bottles of this wine have been produced and each bottle is hand numbered.

The vinyard owners Robert and Augusta Raimes said: "We are thrilled to be awarded this very special silver medal right at the beginning of our journey. We are proud of the family team and long hours of work establishing our vines on our farm, and of our superb winemakers Emma Rice and Jacob Leadley at Hattingley Winery.”

The judging panel praised it for flavour which it described as “lemon sherbet with elegant bready overtones. Youthful. Rich brioche, chalky, mineral flavours balanced with citrus”.

Later this year there will be the release of two more wines from Raimes vinyard; these are 2014 Blanc de Noirs due for release in June followed by their Classic Reserve at the end of the autumn.

The South of England, notably Hampshire and Sussex, is fast becoming renowned for sparkling wine production. The Raimes vineyards, at Harnham Hill and Lamborough Lane between Cheriton and Hinton Ampner lie on south facing slopes on essentially the same chalk which runs from the soils of Champagne.

This soil, aspect and Hampshire’s climate provide the perfect ‘terroir’ for growing grapes for sparkling wine with excellent minerality, balance, good acidity and complexity. The area has a long growing season starting early in the spring going on into late autumn and this allows the flavours to develop in the grapes.

Raimes English Sparkling 2013 Blanc de Noirs can be purchased at the The Naked Grape in Alresford, Four Marks and Hungerford. Fareham Wine Cellar, Fareham and at The Tichborne Arms or online for £29.95 from their website: