Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus 2018 - £18
Tasting Notes: On initial whiff, distinct elder flower with a dollop of honey. I can report that it was fruity yes, but still dry.
It’s a refreshing drink with soft, light bubbles. Not like those big harsh ones you get from a cheap Prosecco. All too gluggable, the boyf and I knocked it back far too easily.
What don't Chapel Down do? Not only do they make award winning English wines but gin and beer as well. If you are ever stuck in Ashford then a visit to their restaurant and brewery is compulsory.
The Grange Classic 2015 - £31
Grape: Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir
Tasting Notes: Light brioche and apple aromas. The Classic is 55% Chardonnay but I could taste plenty of red fruit from the two Pinots, Meunier and Noir, which is delicately balanced in equal measure with light toasted notes from the time spent on lees.
The wine is made at Hattingley Valley winery and we love it. The Grange is a family affair with four siblings at the helm, they manage fifty-two thousand vines in the idyllic Hampshire download. Sounds like a lot of vines to me. Well done team!
Furleigh Estate, Dorset - Sparkling Rosé NV - £30.99
Grape: 46% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 14% Pinot Meunier
Tasting Notes: This rosé carries a nuance of freshly baked scones with strawberries and cream, yes really. A jolly wine with a touch of sweetness and a vibrant acidity.
Proudly making Dorest wines from Dorset grapes, all of their still wines are current silver medal winners.
Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé NV- £34.99
Grape: 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir
Tasting Notes: Lovely amber pink in colour, plenty of crunch cherries, raspberries, white choclate on the nose and red fruits in depth on the palate. The finish is rich and yeasty for those who prefer the Champagne style. Julia Harding of Jancisrobinson.com likes it: "Excellent fruit depth, just a little bit of feel sweetness on the finish so you get a sweet/sour Victoria plum finish and a slight boiled-sweets (hard-candy) after-effect. 16.5/20"
Hambledon is England's oldest commercial vineyard, planted in 1952. It now comprises of over 200 acres of vineyards and the only gravity-fed, state-of-the-art winery in the UK.
Digby Fine English NV Brut - £32
Region: Various vineyards -Dorset, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire
Grape: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier
Digby Fine English are a négociant - a merchant that contracts other, smaller vineyards and winemakers to grow the fruit and help produce the end-product. As co-founder Trevor remarked recently on a webinar, they didn't want to be stuck in the vineyard but rather focusing on the quality of wine and the success of the business. Digby was the first English sparkling to be exported to New Zealand; it is listed in the Michelin starred Hand and Flower and retails in New York wine shop Flatiron (which looks fancy). Not too shabby.