With the summer weather now in full swing, I’ve been searching the country for another batch of delectable rosé’s. It’s not a difficult task if I’m honest, as my "The Summer of English Sparkling Rosé Part 1" article demonstrated – great quality pink fizz is in abundance. In Part 2 I’ve focussed a little more on the well-known names, with names like Hambledon, Hattingley, Digby, Gusbourne and Wiston, with a couple of lesser known producers that are by no means less worthy of a try. As this feature draws to a close, I feel genuinely excited about what England is doing with sparkling rosé. What I’ve discovered across these 15 rosés is that there is a uniformity of character and expression, but enough textural difference to make each and every wine an absolute delight. It is truly the Summer of English Rosé – all that’s left to say is enjoy!
Castle Brook Brut Rosé 2013
GRAPES: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier & Chardonnay RRP: £35
Standing out with its patriotic label, this is the first rosé from Castle Brook vineyard in the Wye Valley. A classic blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.
A delicate pale salmon colour with lively streams of bubbles.
A refreshing, clean nose with precise raspberry and cranberry aromas, hints of citrus zest and dry pastry notes.
This is a real tongue-tingler – such a brilliant crisp acidity up front with zingy citrus and red currant flavours. But then a smoother, creamy mid-taste and texture from 3 years’ lees ageing. An excellent first release.
Where to Buy: Castle Brook
Digby Leander Pink NV
GRAPES: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Pinot Meunier RRP: £30
A wine so packed full of spark and character that the cork couldn’t help but leap out of the bottle as soon as I had released the cage.
A delicate salmon colour with streams of tiny and fine bubbles.
Its nose is as elegant as it is rich; fresh strawberry and a twist of lemon. Deep rich toasted brioche and biscuit complexity.
A lively and poised palate – opening up with a real citrus zing and brilliant acidity that commands your attention. All those lovely yeasty notes make this a textural delight!
Fox & Fox Expression Rosé Brut 2013
GRAPES: Chardonnay & Pinot Noir RRP: £40
This gloriously coloured rosé was made in the sagnée method with skin contact from the Pinot Noir.
What a nose! This aptly named wine is expressive with rich aromas of ripe red fruit in the form of cherry and strawberry.
The palate opens with crisp citrus and tangy red berries, but it’s not all about the fruit! Hints of candy apple and pastry add complexity and intrigue.
Packed full of character; a weighty hug with a pleasingly dry finish and return of those warming red fruit notes.
Where to Buy: English Wine Centre
Gusbourne Rosé Twenty Thirteen
GRAPES: Pinot Noir RRP: £40
Made only from very best Pinot Noir grapes from Gusbourne’s Appledore vineyard in Kent.
A medium salmon coloured rosé with fine persistent bubbles that rise and lay effortlessly on the wine’s surface.
The wine’s Pinot Noir exclusivity is immediately apparent on the nose; cherry and raspberry with delicate hints of floral, pepper and spice.
This Rosé has everything – the fresh crisp bite of citrus and tart cranberry, then indulgent Pinot Noir depth and a wonderful underlying yeasty depth that doesn’t detract from the wine’s purity.
Where to Buy: Gusbourne
Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé NV
GRAPES: Chardonnay & Pinot Noir RRP: £35
A deeper coloured rosé that suggests we are in for a decadent and rich treat.
A colourful and opulent nose; very ripe strawberry and cherry aromas with crisp pastry and brioche notes.
The taste is refined and richly textured. Superbly balanced acidity with a strong drying yeasty characteristic. It coats the mouth wonderfully with red berry flavours, luxurious creamy weight and almond pastry complexity.
What Hambledon have created here is perhaps the closest I’ve had to a classic rich Rosé Champagne.
Where to Buy: Hambledon
Hattingley Valley Rosé 2014
GRAPES: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier & Pinot Noir Précoce RRP: £35
A brand new vintage of Hattingley’s Rosé, essentially a Rosé de Noirs made from Pinot Noir, (60%), Pinot Meunier (38%) and just 2% Pinot Noir Précoce.
Youthful and lively bubbles with a prominent pink blush colour. Fresh, clean nose with raspberry, lemon and floral cherry blossom notes.
The Hattingley has a bold and vibrant freshness – lots of citrus zest and red currant tang. The mid taste is fuller with lots of ripe strawberry and slight red berry tartness that really holds.
Crisp and fresher than the previous 2013 vintage from Hattingley, and all the better for it!
Where to Buy: Hattingley Valley
Herbert Hall Brut Rosé 2014
GRAPES: Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier & Pinot Noir RRP: £30
There’s something special about the wines from Herbert Hall. They have an elegance and directness that I feel speaks precisely about what makes English Sparkling Wine so exciting.
This wonderfully fresh rosé is exemplary in its purity. With fresh aromas of red apple, light cherry, watermelon and a delicate cherry blossom.
To taste, this wine continues to impress with its beautiful clarity. The bite of a crisp pink lady apple, then bright red fruit and hints of silky texture.
Strikingly dry and clean throughout, the real surprise is the depth and length of the finish. A lingering dry finish with some darker berry, rhubarb and mineral notes. This is a real elegant charmer!
Where to Buy: Honest Grapes
Wiston Rosé 2014
GRAPES: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier & Chardonnay RRP: £36
Another Pinot Noir dominant (68%) rosé, with 22% Meunier and 10% Chardonnay, two thirds of the wine was fermented in aged oak.
Out of the bottle, this wine looks moodier and more mysterious than the legendary 2011 vintage. Deeper pink tones and an almost copper hue.
And indeed the 2014 is very different on the nose, with cherry aromas and hints of darker berries. A curious underlying mix of herbs, honey and spice!
The sensory journey continues, as the fresh crisp bite leads to ripe cherry and strawberry with hints of fruits of the forest. A wonderful involving richness and enveloping creamy textures. This is a rosé that really takes the drinker on a journey.
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Stephen tours seven Kentish winemakers in a day and looks at the region's approach to wine tourism.
John takes a look at the latest Blanc de Noirs 2014 and discusses the new look labels and future developments at the Wiston Estate.
This month it's a rosé-tinted round-up, with John looking at the latest and greatest still and sparkling pink wines.
This month's round-up looks at some of the latest and greatest Great British sparkling wine releases.