A stroll through the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines demonstrated this. Many bunches had uneven ripening of grapes – like in the photo – some still small, hard and green, others ready to burst with juice all on the same bunch. Not easy to accommodate during picking if those bunches with ‘any green’ are rejected.
The impression one leaves with is of dedication and a very dedicated focus on the whole production. Millions have been invested in one of the cleanest, most sparkling winery I’ve encountered. As Richard continued every aspect has been analysed and debated. From the drainage, the plant coverage, the selection of vines… “you cannot make great wine without great grapes”.
Interestingly Richard stated that he does not want to be part of the English wine scene but aims to compete with the top champagne houses. “But we are not champagne. It is from Kent with its own distinct flavour and taste. A longer growing season gives better aromatics and higher acidity. The acidity is the key and spectacularly English”.
The Hush Heath Estate is not open to the public. Their Balfour Brut Rosé [Adegga / Snooth] has limited off-trade distribution (a little goes to Waitrose, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols etc) with 90% of production going to the on-trade (Hotel du Vin, Bistro du Vins and Pub du Vin outlets, St. Pancras and Paddington Champagne Bars and so on).
The estate also produces a refreshing apple juice – one that also demonstrates vintage variations – and, newly launched, a still Chardonnay and a still Rosé. The Balfour Brut Rosé is “not a sitting down for dinner drink” but with its high acidity does mean it goes very well with food “I like it with kidneys”, finished Owen…