(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.
(2018) Made only in the best years with Chardonnay from the oldest, eight-acre single vineyard. Pale gold with fine bubbles, there's a fine bready, biscuity character with creamy fruit and lemon. The mousse is crisp and fine, adding to the refreshing, bright focus of the wine in the mouth, just a little creamy weight from the lees ageing against the cut of the pear and citrus that runs elegantly to the finish. Try with seafood or, my favourite, a roast chicken.
(2018) Still one of the stars of their line-up, the vintage rosé first brought Hush Heath to the wine world's attention, and this 2013 was tasting really good: delicate aromas of small summer berries, just a touch of pastry-like creaminess, but fresh and inviting with its pale, light colour. In the mouth the mousse is fine and persistent, and that dry redcurrant fruitiness fills the mid-palate, and stylish lemon and lime acidity extending the finish. A blend of 44% Pinot Noir, 48% Chardonnay and 8% Pinot Meunier aged three years on the lees.
(2017) From Chapel Down's single vineyard on chalky soils next to the Kit's Coty neolithic monument in Kent. It's all-Chardonnay and from and excellent vintage, and partially barrel fermented. Lots of streaming bubbles and a gorgeous nose, a hint of custard cream biscuits, full and generous with ripe apple and a hint of fragrant lime rind. The palate has a full mousse, very easy and approachable sweet fruitiness, but a streaking, pithy lemon and mineral acidity. Long and delicious, but with a serious side.
(2016) Cool-climate wines are becoming increasingly sought-after by wine lovers, and England is well placed to capitalise. For now it is really only sparkling wines that manage to deliver world-class in any real volume, whilst table wines often struggle to marry quality and price. This top Chardonnay from Gusbourne is fermented and aged in older French oak and has an oatmeal creaminess and gently nutty character allied to citrus and green apple. On the plate it is light and focused on a straightforward lemony fruit, a little of that barrel-derived richness and texture offsetting the acidity of the finish. It is for me a touch dilute through the mid-palate, and whilst a really good wine of some finesse, my enthusiasm is just tempered by it's £22 price tag.
(2015) From the best recent vintage in English winemaking, BBR have gone to Gusborne Estate in Kent for this wine, which has been made to a fairly exacting specification: it is all Chardonnay with part of the base wine being fermented in oak barrels. There's a delicious creamy apple character on the nose, the barrel certainly adding a little toast and nuttiness, but a nice bruised fruit development from the time in bottle too. The palate has a softness, a hint of sweetness, but again that tight apple character, the Cox's pippin nuttiness and very good citrus acidity. It's another very convincing Blanc de Blancs from the 2011 vintage in England - and delicious.
(2013) 11%, Screwcap. The blend is 68% Pinot Noir, with 15% Rondo, 9% Pinot Noir Précoce and 8% Regent. It has a nice touch of leafy, undergrowth quality over dry, redcurranty fruit. The palate has clarity, juiciness, though it is on the dry and lemony side of the spectrum. Needs food perhaps.
(2006) This traditional bottle fermented Reserve is a strict selection of Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. It has a bright, pale lemon colour, with plenty of tiny, streaming bubbles. On the nose it has a genuinely lovely aroma, with a soft, butter and elegantly toasty sheen, a very ripe, almost pineapple fruit quality, and a suggestion of honey. On the palate it has much more vibrancy and crunch than the nose suggests, with a palate shot-through with lemony-fresh fruit and a fine mousse. The mid-palate is perhaps somewhat lacking complexity, but it fills out with some toast and peachy flavours before that core of citrus acidity pushes through into a clean, long finish. A convincing English fizz of high quality.
(2006) Bacchus is one of the better German crosses, from a Silvaner-Riesling-Müller-Thurgau lineage, and this Reserve wine is a selection of the best tanks. From the very hot 2003, this wine expresses Bacchus' pungent, quite Sauvignon-like herbal quality well, with exotic fruit suggesting guava and lychee, and there is a little mineral, stony nuance in there somewhere. On the palate this has terrific fruit and zest: there's an impression of real fruit sweetness, with more of that exotic, tropical character, and a fine lime and lemon quality to the acidity that is just doing enough to cut through a burgeoning sense of juicy fruit opulence. Delightful stuff, and only 11 per cent ABV.