(2021) There are two main methods for producing pink sparkling wines, by blending red and white base wines together, or the one used here: saignée, where the colour comes from a short period of skin contact, colour leaching from the skins of black grapes. This is made from Pinots Noir and Meunier, and the skin contact also gives an unusual herbal, twiggy aspect to the aroma, as well as strawberry, sherbetty red fruit and floral notes. In the mouth I find a touch of green bitterness, which although there is plenty of creamy red fruit and fine acidity, just detracts a little.
(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.
(2020) Many of us will remember the 'Beaujolais Nouveau Run', the mad dash to have the first bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau, always released on the third Thursday of November, back in the UK and on dining tables the same day. Now England's Hush Heath has taken on the French at their own game, releasing their Pinot Nouveau on the same day - remarkably enough, a wine harvested less than two months ago on September 23rd, and which saw a brief stopover in French and American oak barrels. It is vibrantly purple in colour, with loads of toast and smokiness, then the palate has really bouyant black fruit - tannins are smoothed into transparency, and there is a hint of cherry sweetness, but the finish is dry with the oak adding some more of that toasty, coffeeish richness. The acid balances in a wine that is good fun, but more than that, a fascinating and youthful interpretation of easy-drinking Pinot.
(2020) A particularly pungent Bacchus this, from Hush Heath's Kent vineyards, a piercing, high-toned herbaceous character dominating the aroma. Vivid, grassy and zinging with citrus and elderflower, the palate has a sour lemony bite, a featherweight texture (with only 11% alcohol) and it is dry with green herbs and citrus streaking through the finish. It's not a wine I could drink a lot of perhaps, almost like a fairly extreme Marlborough Sauvignon in its vivacious character, but character it is has. Watch the video for more information.
(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?
(2019) What a fascinating wine, made from a single plot of Pinot Meunier that ripened exceptionally well in the 2018 vintage, it was harvested on 19th October and aged for a short period in a combination of French and American oak. It is pale-medium in colour and has an intriguing nose, somewhere between fresh-hung game and raspberry, gentle earthiness and tobacco spices adding to the complexity of aromas. In the mouth there is beautifull creamy sweetness, touching on summer-pudding fruitiness, but that gamy nuance persists, a touch of a darker, coffee character and a rasp of plum skin grippy tannin. The acidity is good too, in a light and yet substantial wine that's full of interest.
(2019) The name is a pun on 'sept', the French word for seven, as all seven of Champagne's permitted grape varieties are used: it's a bend of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier, Pinot Gris, Arbanne and Pinot Meunier. Made in stainless steel, but with six months batonnage, it's one of those wines which you would swear had been barrel fermented and aged: the nose is creamy with buttery and almond tones, beneath citrus and golden apple, quite firm and not too showy. In the mouth the wine immediately tightens up, a flowing citrus zest character and more of that dry crab apple bite of acidity, the finish long and full of zippy fruit and etched by acidity.
(2018) This sparkling apple wine is made from fruit grown in Hush Heath's Kent orchards (Cox, Bramley and Egremont Russet), with secondary fermentation in bottle just like their other sparkling wines, and using Champagne yeast. It has an elegant cider apple nose, lightly nutty and with a rosy, ripe apple skin fruitiness. In the mouth there's an echo of sweetness just to offset the bracing acidity, and the apple flavours push through cleanly and brightly. Most enjoyable for a change.
(2018) Made with Bramley, Cox's and Russet apples from the estate, just like the white Sparkling Apple Wine, but with the addition of strawberry and blackcurrant, mostly for colour I suspect as the flavours are resolutely appley. There is a hint of extra strawberry sweetness perhaps, but the sharp apple acidity ensures this finishes feeling dry and fresh. Equally enjoyable as its white partner, and lovely summer drink with 8% alcohol.
(2018) A really nice, crowd-friendly traditional method blend of the three main Champagne grapes, aged for a minimum of one year in Hush Heath's cellars. It's fruity and bright, pear and juicy red apple and seemingly quite sweet: certainly a higher dosage than some here, but with excellent citrus acidity and some nice creamy and lightly toasty character from the lees ageing.