(2021) From the clay and sandy loam soils of Appledore in Kent, this all-Chardonnay cuvée comes from a very good year, the harvest completed by 7th October. A small percentage of the blend was fermented in older oak barrels, and it spent a full 42 months on the lees prior to disgorgement. The colour is an attractive pale gold, with a foamy mousse and plenty of very small bubbles rising steadily in the glass. There is a touch of buttery pastry, a fine biscuity and oatmeal sheen, and fruit that has a touch of rich figgy quality, but is mostly about fresh citrus and summer pears. In the mouth, despite a modest dosage of 7g/l, there is an abundant sense of sweetness from the ripe fruit. It's a lovely style this, not at all austere, yet precise and super-fresh.
(2021) Hush Heath's Kent vineyards boast not only the three major Champagne grapes, but three more out of the seven varieties allowed in Champagne. As well as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, Les Sixes includes 13.5% Pinot Blanc, 8.5% Arbane and 3.5% Petite Meslier. A 2014 vintage, it has spent five years on lees. A good crop of small, streaming bubbles in the glass, the nose has Cox's pippin and biscuit on the nose, plenty of creamy autolysis, then a surge of sweet, ripe and mouth-filling fruit on the palate. Theres terrific zing and juiciness here, tangy and sparky lemon zest acidity, but a punchy peach and nectarine on the mid-palate blends into the sharply-def8ned, crisp finish.
(2019) The sparkling wine in this inaugural Winemakers' Collection is 100% Chardonnay from the 2012 and 2013 vintages, that spent 12 months in Burgundy barrels before a further five years in bottle on the lees. It has zero dosage and the colour already appears quite deep through the clear glass bottle, tinged with gold. Bubbles are small, and the initial aroma is of bruised apple and pear, a touch of pastry, and a custardy touch. In the mouth the mousse if fine and racy, and the wine streaks across the palate with a surge of lemony fruit. There's a fascinating lick of saltiness to the acid profile, but it perhaps lacks a bit of palate depth given the barrel treatment and long time on the lees, finishing taut and fruit driven. At the price I would have hoped for a little more complexity, and wonder if just a few grams of dosage would have given that?