IN JUST two weeks, an Oxfordshire-made sparkling wine has become the number one best seller listed at Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.

The wine is made by 'Hundred Hills' which kept its 42-acre vineyard in Oxfordshire quiet for almost 10 years until the first wine was aged perfectly.

The two-starred Michelin chef said it "amongst the very finest" that he has ever tasted.

Read more: Ronald McDonald House in Oxford gets a Christmas makeover with decoration competition

Oxford Mail: Fiona and Stephen Duckett with Raymond BlancFiona and Stephen Duckett with Raymond Blanc

In 2009, Fiona and Stephen Duckett set out, with the help of former winemakers Louis Roederer and Dr Michel Salgues, to hunt for perfect dry chalk soils to grow vines in England.

Three years later they discovered a chalk valley in Oxfordshire, unused since the 16th century and where the chalk ran 160m deep.

The pair, who are both Oxford University graduated, tested soils from more than 100 sites before they found the land in Stonor Valley which is protected by ancient woodland.

Champagne experts found the soils to be almost indistinguishable from their region's Côte des Blancs.

Oxford Mail: Hilltop vineyard view at Hundred HillsHilltop vineyard view at Hundred Hills

The vineyards, which are planted with 84,000 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines, form a natural amphitheatre that sweeps across the Stonor Valley and rises to hilltops at 180m high.

With global climates warming, wine experts now predict that the Stonor Valley in Oxfordshire could become England's answer to Champagne.

Raymond Blanc was the first chef in England to hear about Hundred Hills because it is located near to his award-winning restaurant.

Oxford Mail: Sustainable winery of Great Britain accreditation from WineGBSustainable winery of Great Britain accreditation from WineGB

He said: “I have always supported local values and excellence, matched with sustainability. A new chapter in wine is being written only a few miles away from Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

“Many of our sommeliers, chefs and guests have visited Hundred Hills and I am delighted to say that they also share my feelings about these special wines from the Stonor Valley, and we are proud to serve them at Le Manoir. The wines that Stephen and Fiona are creating are amongst the very finest that I have tasted.”


Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok

Got a story for us? Send us your news and pictures here

List an event for free on our website here