2013 Hattingley Valley Rose = England is now home to more than 140 wineries and has for some years been producing very fine sparkling wines (don’t say “Champagne” unless you want to be sued by the French). From the Hampshire area, in the the south, this blend of 59% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Meunier and 6% Pinot Noir Precoce a mutation of Pinot Noir) is an excellent example of the quality that English sparkling wine can attain. Pale salmon pink in appearance with excellent fine mousse, the aromas are of rose, strawberry and red currants. The palate is similarly flavoured with a deliciously savoury backbone that is powerful and long. Serving this might be a useful ice breaker should your Valentine be from Old Blighty.
2013 Hattingley Rose = This was the year the English sparkling wine revolution began to make its mark in the Australian trade, with some of the Old Dart’s leading producers shipping their best wines Down Under. Hattingley’s super-pale pink bubbly is a lovely example of why so many commentators are excited about the southern UK as a premium sparkling wine region: fine, entrancing aromas of wild strawberry and hints of rosewater, delicately savoury in the mouth. The only better English sparkling I tried this year was Hattingley’s beautifully elegant 2011 Blanc de Blancs ($120), which you may still be able to find on a couple of restaurant lists and in the odd wine shop.
2013 Hattingley Valley Rosé = Pale pink in both colour and flavour, it has subtle, entrancing aromas of wild strawberry and Turkish delight, and fine, savoury elegance on the tongue. $90
2011 Hattingley Valley Blanc de Blancs = This wine is 100 per cent chardonnay from an unusually good vintage (a record-breaking 29 degrees at harvest time!), grown in vineyards with particularly chalky soils, and it spent four years on lees before disgorging. It has beautiful aromas of elderflower and lightly buttered toast, with elegant richness and a hint of Marmite. Bloody marvellous. $120
2013 Hattingley Valley Rosé = This wine has some bite, in the best possible sense. Acidity is ultra perky, it’s all red apple and white strawberry in the palate with a toothsome chomp that sits amongst the vibrant fizz of the wine. Fragrance is on point; red berries, vanilla, smoke. The wine is powerful, racy and very refreshing. The finish is so good – like a sip of fresh grapefruit juice. Those who like labels would call it ‘an excellent aperitif style’. And it is. 94+ points.
2013 Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvée = Fleshier, fuller style, with hallmark blistering acidity… Toasty, yeasty scents with burned butter, honey, candle wax and stewed apple/pear scents. The palate has a slippery richness set around the core of firm, feisty acidity. Flesh falls off the bones of the wine in creamy drips with zesty bubbles fighting hard. It’s a lot going on, complex you could say, but doesn’t quite feel coherent in its expression. Perhaps another year or so..? 90 points.
2011 Blanc de Blanc = Beautiful perfume of lemon, preserved lemon and fresh laundered sheets. That feeling of freshness washes over you. The palate is gently creamy, shows a barely there kiss of savoury nuttiness, with the star of the show a bristling trim of chalky acidity that keeps the wine racy, punchy and invigorating. Bubbles are wild and foamy around it. It’s a lovely thing to drink, and blows the wind through your hair as you do. 93+ points.