Renowned Kent-based estate Hush Heath has launched three limited releases that celebrate the work of its winemakers.
The wines, one sparkling and two still, have each been designed by one of Hush Heath’s winemakers.
The Blanc de Blancs (1,000 bottles) was created by head winemaker Victoria Ash, using Chardonnay grapes from the 2012 and 2013 harvests. It’s been barrel-fermented, matured in French oak for 12 months, then bottled with zero dosage.
It’s a gastronomic blanc de blancs, boasting an intense nose of toast and cream, with fruity aromas of pear and sweet apple. On the palate it shows excellent acidity and flavours of green apple and a hint of nuts on the finish.
‘For me it is the Chardonnay that really typifies the Hush Heath Estate, bringing forward herbaceous tones and powerful saline notes,’ says Ash. ‘These grapes come from specific blocks of very special vines. From my experiences in New Zealand, it was an exciting opportunity to put some of our best Chardonnay juice into old French oak, and create a completely different style for the winery.’
This Septered Isle 2018 (3,000 bottles) is instead the creation of assistant winemaker Fergus Elias. The name is a play on 'sept', French for 'seven', and alludes to the seven grape varieties allowed to make champagne, all used in this still white wine. Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier, Arbanne and Pinot Meunier are grown at the estate, while the Pinot Gris was sourced from elsewhere.
Like the blanc de blancs, this wine is characterised by great acidic structure and balanced by a creamy finish and plenty of complexity with notes of lemon sorbet, yoghurt, wet stone, and a hint of dried herbs.
‘I was inspired after tasting a sparkling base wine we made in 2014 with six of the champagne grape varieties from the estate,’ Elias explained. ‘It had fantastic complexity, and real still wine potential. But it was not until the exceptional 2018 harvest, and the unearthing of a small local parcel of Pinot Gris, that This Septered Isle was born.’
The third, a red still wine dubbed The Red Miller (5,000 bottles), is the brainchild of Owen Elias, father of Fergus and consultant at Hush Heath. It’s a single-vineyard Pinot Meunier from the stellar 2018 vintage. The must was fermented for three days on its skins then spent some time in a mix of French and American oak, followed by minimal filtration and no fining before bottling.
The wine shows a very bright, wild red berries nose. The palate is vibrant and focused, with little tannin and a crisp finish. ‘Pinot Meunier is rarely seen as a still red anywhere in the world,’ said the winemaker. ‘Here we have a delicate and aromatic wine which will be extremely interesting as it develops over the next two years.’
Victoria Ash Blanc de Blancs, £50; This Septered Isle, £24; The Red Miller £24, Liberty Wines.