BB Review: Hush Heath Balfour Leslie’s Reserve NV
Long Live The English Sparkling Wine!
BOTTLE: Hush Heath Balfour Leslie’s Reserve NV
WHERE WE BOUGHT IT & PRICE: £24.99 from Waitrose
ABV & TECH SPECS: 55% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 5% Pinot Meunier and 11.5% ABV
ABOUT HUSH HEATH: With a history dating back to 1503, the exquisite Tudor-framed Hush Heath Manor is the family home of the Balfour-Lynn's.
Viticulturists at Hush Heath have been working the land for three generations and have an natural understanding of the soil, which is made up of deep Wealden clay and is unique to their corner of Kent. They believe that the best sparkling wine comes from the three classic sparkling wine grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
ABOUT ENGLISH SPARKLING WINE: A new era for English wine began in the late 70's when the first vineyards of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier were planted in the South of England, where the geology and soils are similar to that of the Champagne region. In fact, the chalk seam found in Champagne, France reappears from under the Channel in our very own Sussex and Hampshire and the aim of the vineyards in this area was to make premium sparkling wine that would rival the French. Over the years, several UK premium sparkling wines have attracted international acclaim and become Award Winning wine producers. An estimated 5.9 million bottles were produced in 2017 and the industry has a plan to double this by 2020.
BEHIND THIS BOTTLE?: Leslie’s Reserve (named after Richard’s wife!) is a non-vintage, traditional method sparkling wine launched in 2016 as a softer, fruit-forward, more accessible introduction to English fizz.This sparkling wine also received a silver medal at both the IWSC and Decanter Wine Awards.
CARO: I'm not going to lie, we had a lot of fun the day we tried this wine, which resulted in me losing my tasting notes - shit happens. But what I can remember from it is that I liked it, overall - it had a finesse to it that I normally struggle to find in English sparkling wines (cue hate mails), with some deliciously light and refreshing apple notes that were absolutely perfect for some Bank Holiday sunset sipping on Angela's balcony. So yeh, this is definitely one of those times where company, environment, mood, and atmosphere played a key part in the wine experience! Cheers Bitches!
ANGELA: A few years ago I was talking with an Italian who asked me where I was from, upon telling him I was from Kent, he exclaimed “Ah! Wine Country!” and I proudly smiled. We are blessed to be on the doorstep of an award-winning and exciting wine scene, and I am a big advocate for English Sparkling. This one is everything I would want in a glass of bubbles – a golden hue, heaps of fine bubbles alongside crisp acidity, with ripe red apples, pear tart and creamy toasty notes. Delicious!
KATE: Like Don Ho, tiny bubbles make me happy and the fizz in this English Sparkling wine are a wee bit on the big side for my liking. On the nose, this gives off a nice buttery note but the taste is almost soda-esque and reminds me of cans of Sprite that I'd get on special occasions as a kid. While it's not as refined as tried-and-true champagne, this is perfectly serviceable and good for a glass or two.
WOULD WE HAVE ANOTHER GLASS? Oh, go on then!