OK, OK, I know English Sparkling isn’t technically Champagne, but I’m pretty sure we all refer to most fizz as champagne even if it’s English sparkling, Prosecco, cava, blancs de blancs, crémant etc. It is a word synonymous with luxurious and fancy fizz, and who doesn’t like to feel like they are being fancy even if they’re just drinking Lambrini or Babycham (I still lust over those fabulous Babycham coupe glasses, I won’t lie)?!
I am lucky that my job affords me opportunities every now and again to try out new wine/spirits/beers, and this week, I was very privileged to try some utterly phenomenal English sparkling wines.
Henners Vineyard is based in East Sussex, and produces some really incredible bottles of booze. It’s run by a very small team and is set in a really picturesque part of the UK. The terroir is perfectly suited to the grapes they grow and the clay soil and close proximity to the coast only adds to the wonderful flavours these grapes then impart into the wine they create.
Henners NV Brut
A 12% alcohol blend of chardonnay (40%), pinot noir (35%) and pinot meunier (25%), aged on the lees for 36 months. Bright, pale lemon with a slight hint of lime in appearance with notes of yeast and citrus on the nose. On the palate, the first thing I was met with was a wonderfully sweet and creamy hint of marzipan. The yeast comes through delicately on the tongue along with sprightly citrus and some slightly underripe melon. Definitely not your bog-standard glass of fizz!
Henners Vintage 2014
12% alcohol blend of chardonnay (70%) and Pinot noir (30%) and aged for 48 months on the lees in French oak (old & new). Clear with a bright lime character and a lovely sparkle on appearance, the nose is littered with citrus, oak and cooked apple. These notes are mirrored in the palate, which has a wonderfully soft and rounded texture, despite the fizz. The orchard fruit notes are paired with fragrant lemon peel and tangy bittersweet grapefruit. The blend is perfectly judged and this would work perfectly with food, or enjoyed on its own.
Henners NV Rosé
12% alcohol blend of pinot meunier (65%) and pinot noir (35%) and aged on the lees for 18 months. Clear, bright and a blushing coral pink, you know on the pour that this is going to be something special. On the nose, sweet and heady notes of strawberry and comforting buttered toast. This is echoed in the palate with additional characters of red berries (mainly raspberry), white flowers and a beautiful undertone of warming vanilla. With its fresh acidity, lusciously long finish and tongue tingling sparkle, this is a sparkling rosé to rival many.
Head over to Henners’ website and get your hands on a bottle (or 2) of their fizz, and, while you’re at it, maybe try some of their still wines too. You won’t regret it.