Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve NV: Alive! Beautifully layered with sumptuous texture and thrilling mineral precision. Excellent English fizz.
2014 Rosé: If you’re after something a little more sophisticated [than Cava Rosado], try Hattingley Valley, Rosé 2014 (£37.50 at GWW), a complex, elegant and impressive English sparkling from Hampshire. It’s made just north of Winchester from a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Précoce (an early ripening mutation of Pinot Noir, perfect for the British climate). With a portion of the base wine ageing in old Burgundy barrels and around two years bottle-ageing on lees, there’s a lovely mouthfeel and subtle toasty note alongside the wine’s delightful strawberry and cranberry flavours. I recently served this blind at a sparkling wine tasting next to a very well-known and respected Champagne house’s rosé, and this was the hands-down favourite. Elegant and fresh, it’s a splendid example of high-quality English sparkling wine.
2013 Blanc de Blancs: On the nose, the extra year this spent on lees is immediately apparent, as the Hattingley has quite a savoury aroma of toasted biscuit with baked apples and a hint of spice.It’s soft and supple on the palate, with flavours of apple pudding, lemon and toasted bread. There are also hints of ripe stone fruit and biscuity complexity.
Classic Reserve NV: An excellent English sparkling with bright lemon zest and bready, yeasty brioche notes. Its fine bubbles leave you wanting more. Definitely a versatile one.
Classic Reserve NV: The family-owned Hattingley Valley winery in Hampshire ferments some of its wines in Burgundy oak barrels, to help soften rather jangly acidity that can afflict English wines.The result is a smashing fizz (at a great price), with lots of vibrant Bramley apple zing and golden notes of toasted oats and brown sugar. Just the ticket for a party.
2013 Demi Sec: So very appley on the palate! Gorgeous – apple pie in a glass. Just a frisson of spice, beautiful balance. A very clever demi sec; not terribly sweet and with a swish of acidity to brace everything up. I would buy this in a heartbeat. Surely there couldn’t be any better fizz to have with Wimbledon strawberries and cream? Drink 2018-2022. 16 points.
2013 Blanc de Blancs: Lovely melon and citrus fruit on the nose, bit of yogurt and cream. Smoky and compact, lots of citrus and zestiness on the mid palate – really rich citrus, like poached lemon and orange peel and key lime pie topped with oat meal. Crunchy with a fantastically geometric, firm finish. No nonsense. Good stuff. Drink 2020-2025. 16.5+ points.
2014 Rosé: Smells like toast with strawberries. Greengage plums and a bit dusty and pomegranates. Well defined, expressive fruit on these Hattingley wines. Lift and bit of a heel-kicking attitude. I like the breadiness/toast here. Reassuring competence, although not quite a magical as their Reserve. Drink 2018-2021. 16 points.
Classic Reserve NV: This is a really, really pretty nose – all fresh orchard fruit and spring blossom. Open and feminine and lacy, tasting of spring and morning sunshine. Bit of spice, just giving it a tiny bit of kick. Real dance and trilling energy. This is incredibly drinkable! Delightfully English, owning its identity and not remotely a champagne wannabe. What a joy. Russet apples and lily of the valley. Drink 2019-2023. 17 points.
Aqua Vitae: is lemon-verbena fragrant, but also smells a bit like creamy sunflower-seed butter. It’s really creamy on the palate too, with layers of golden fruit and orange peel. Complex, and the alcohol is beautifully integrated.
100% Chardonnay, 6 g/l dosage, 4 years on lees. Fresh and vivid with nice purity and some lemony fruit, with a hint of apple. Subtle herbal notes in the background. Fine and nicely expressive. 92/100. (2013 Blanc de Blancs)
59% Pinot Noir, 36% Pinot Meunier, 5% Pinot Noir Precoce. 35 g/l dosage, 3 years on lees. Rich nose leads to a palate with sweet appley fruit and some spice. Complex, broad and off dry, this is really effective. 90/100. (2013 Demi Sec)
60% Pinot Noir, 38% Pinot Meunier, 2% Pinot Noir Precoce. 8 g/l dosage, 24 months on lees. Delicate and expressive with lovely citrus fruit and some toast and subtle cherry notes. Very lively and balanced. 91/100. (2014 Rosé)
Base wine is 2014 with 18% reserve wines. 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 19% Pinot Meunier, 1% Pinot Gris. 7 g/l dosage, 24 months on lees. Lively and bright with an appley edge to the crisp citrus fruit. Very expressive with keen acidity and lovely focus. 90/100. (Classic Reserve NV)
Hattingley Valley, Classic Reserve NV England = I preferred Emma Rice’s Chardonnay-dominant blend to Waitrose’s own-label Blanc de Blancs, although admittedly the former costs £6 more a bottle. This is a particularly delicate wine with some light smokiness on the finish. (If you see a wine labelled Classic Cuvée, it is the same wine. Emma Rice explains: the Classic Cuvee has become Classic Reserve as it is now a true non-vintage with a good proportion of reserve wine in it. Waitrose have some stock remaining of the Classic Cuvée labels but they also have the Classic Reserve labelled stock now as well – some shops have both on the shelves.)
Hattingley Valley Sparkling Red Pinot 2015 = Obviously, English sparkling wine has been bubbling about for a while, the now five million bottles produced here each year a chicer option than cheap champagne. But what about red sparkling English wine? Hattingley Valley, the lovely, multi award-winning East Hampshire vineyard, has gone all Christmassy with a limited-edition sparkling Pinot Noir – a creamy, raspberry-ish fizz that makes perfect Christmas Day cooking fodder for those stuck in the kitchen with 12kg of unpeeled potatoes.
2011 Hattingley Valley Blanc de Blancs Brut (magnum)
Average Score: 90 = placed in the top 10 wines in the whole tasting.First taster: Essi Avellan MWScore: 88Note: Lovely toast-complexed nose with hazelnuts and vanilla. Sweet, pure fruitiness. Fluffy mousse, linear and racy.Second taster: Anthony RoseScore: 88Note: Pale lemon, still fresh, subtle aromatic notes, light lemon chiffon-like mousse, shot through with a lemon-zesty sherbety tang, intense and well crafted, with attractive flavors.Third taster: Tom StevensonScore: 93Note: Lovely, classic, toasty blanc de blancs! Intense, not weighty, long and fine, supported by a vivacious mousse. An exciting wine.2014 Hattingley Valley Rosé = 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!
2010 Hattingley Valley Blanc de Blancs = A classic 100% Chardonnay sparkler, partially fermented in oak, this would be delicious with hot smoked trout paté or charcuterie and will continue to improve for at least five years.
2010 Hattingley Valley Blanc de Blancs = Rich and sweet with accents of baked apples, this Hampshire fizz has a moreish, biscuit finish that tastes divine paired with white fish dishes.
2013 Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvée = There’s a wonderful combination of the traditional and modern at Hattingley. It is the UK’s first winery to use solar power, and yet sits in quintessentially English countryside. But you can taste the innovation; here they use some oak barrels (like mighty Krug and Bollinger) to give the wine a softer, complex mouthfeel and structure. Truly delicious fizz.
2013 Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvée = Olly Smith’s perfect match with… Fish and Chips!Mineral pure with zesty intensity. A beacon of English quality.
Hattingley Valley Wines Blanc de Blancs 2010 = Four years on the lees has created an elegant, easy drinking Chardonnay sparkler. Oak lends a smooth richness.
Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvée NV = Complex and fresh, this fizz has fine, lemony fruit with some apples and pears adding weight. There are also subtle toasty notes, finishing with brisk acidity.
2010 Hattingley Valley Blanc de Blancs = We’ll all be buying British if we vote for a Brexit, so this is an obvious choice. Very easy-going, a perfect aperitif. It has flavours of spiced pear and apple, with a long, lemon-tinged finish. Compared favourably with a Louis Roederer NV tasted alongside it, which felt a bit dry and less fun in comparison.