RAISE A GLASS
CELEBRATE ENGLISH WINES WEEK BY PAYING A VISIT TO HUSH HEATH AND SAMPLING SOME OF THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND’S FINEST OFFERINGS…
English Wines Week is an event that’s becoming more and more prominent on the calendar – and with good reason. English wines are now something to shout about – often trumping Champagne in awards. And the best part? We’re in the midst of the revolution, right here in Kent.
One recognised producer is Hush Heath, located in Staplehurst, who boast a rich heritage and history, and also have a fine selection of award-winning wines under their belt.
With a history dating back to 1503, the exquisite Tudor-framed Hush Heath Manor is the family home of the Balfour-Lynns. The manor nestles into the hill, overlooking the vineyards and estate with magnificent views across the Weald of Kent.
The 400 acres of stunning land incorporate the Hush Heath Manor, vineyards, orchards and ancient oak woodland. In addition, the estate owns four stylish pubs – two of which are right here in Kent. The Goudhurst Inn is closest to the estate itself, the Tickled Trout is in nearby West Farleigh and there are two establishments in London too.
Hush Heath is the only English vineyard dedicated to the creation of rosé sparkling wine, and they have 37 acres of vineyards where they grow three classic Champagne grape varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. This is set to increase soon too, as they’re in the process of planting more vineyards, which will take their total acreage to 50 acres.
When you visit Hush Heath, you realise that the company is very much a family affair – the 1503 Balfour label is named so after the family’s ties with the estate, the orchard plays host to Jake’s Tree – named after Richard and Leslie Balfour’s son Jake, and also the name of their infamous cider, and their apple juices are named after eldest son Luke, while two of the still wines pay homage to their daughters Nannette and Skye.
VISIT THE VINES
There’s no better way to learn more about this fabulous English vineyard than to visit for yourself and see what makes Hush Heath and its produce so special. Thankfully, they offer a variety of tour and tasting options, to help you get the most out of your experience.
Enjoy three free samples of Hush Heath’s award-winning wines and ciders after strolling through the estate’s beautiful vineyards, apple orchards, and ancient oak woodlands. There’s no need to book in advance, and you can taste an additional three wines and ciders for £5 per person.
FREE GUIDED TOUR
Join a free guided tour, and learn all about the estate and its produce from one of the winery experts. This includes a tour of the estate and winery, followed by a tutored tasting of four award-winning wines and ciders. Tours start at 11.30am and will last for approximately 2.5 hours. All dates fall on a Sunday. Visit www.hushheath.com for dates.
WINERY TOUR & TUTORED TASTING
Price: £15 per person.
Minimum of 6 people. Must be pre-booked.
Take a guided tour of the state-of-the-art winery where the process of still and sparkling winemaking is explained. The tour is followed by a tutored tasting of four award-winning wines and ciders. Allow a minimum of 1.5 hours. If there’s more you’d like to try, you can taste an additional three wines and ciders for £5 per person.
FULL ESTATE, WINERY & TUTORED TASTING TOUR
Price: £25 per person.
Minimum of 6 people. Must be pre-booked.
Visitors will be guided around the estate, taking in
the vineyards, orchards and woodland, and learning all aspects of grape growing. The tour continues to the winery where the process of still and sparkling wine-making is explained. To conclude, you’ll enjoy a tutored tasting of six award-winning wines and ciders. Allow a minimum of 2.5 hours.
THE FULL HUSH HEATH EXPERIENCE
Price: £50 per person.
Minimum of 4 people. Must be pre-booked.
Experience the full estate, winery and tutored tasting tour, followed by a specially prepared food and wine pairing three course lunch or dinner menu, with a fl ight of three Hush Heath wines at the locally owned Goudhurst Inn.
TASTE THE WINES
Your go-to guide for Hush Heath’s finest tipples
BALFOUR BRUT ROSÉ 2013
Hush Heath’s flagship wine is produced from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grown exclusively on Hush Heath Estate. It is a multi-award winning vintage English quality sparkling wine crafted using the traditional method made famous in Champagne. On the palate it’s extremely refreshing with classic English mouth-watering acidity. Displaying notes of white currant, quince, lime and a slight herbiness, it pairs perfectly with scallops and chorizo.
BALFOUR, LESLIE’S RESERVE NV
Named after the producer’s wife, Leslie, this delicious, traditional-method, English sparkling wine is made from selected cuvées and blended for a young, fresh style. Cool fermentation in the state- of-the-art stainless steel vats ensures a clean,varietal fruit character. Secondary fermentation in the bottle is followed by a minimum of 12 months lees ageing. Delicious with white meats or fish and chips, on the palate it’s beautifully balanced with crisp acidity and a touch of sweetness.
BALFOUR 1503 SPARKLING PINOT NOIR
This traditional method English sparkling is a real treat for the more adventurous wine lovers out there. It’s produced entirely from Pinot Noir and fermented in cool, stainless steel tanks to ensure clean varietal fruit character and aromatic intensity. Secondary fermentation in bottle is followed by a minimum of twelve months lees ageing. Dry with a delicate mousse and well-balanced acidity, it’s a fun and unusual wine, ideal with roast pheasant, lamb or even Christmas dinner!
NANNETTE’S ENGLISH ROSÉ 2016
Nannette’s (named after Richard Balfour-Lynn’s youngest daughter), is a unique still rosé made from the same Champagne varietals as the Balfour. It is a blend of 75% Pinot Noir and Meunier fi nessed with 25% Chardonnay, and is great on its own, but also pairs well with summer salads, seafood and chicken and pork dishes.
JAKE’S ORCHARD SPARKLING CIDER WITH STRAWBERRY & BLACKCURRANT
Jake’s Orchard Cider is named after the producer’s son. The blend is 100% pure apple juice from Cox, Bramley and Egremont Russet apples grown on the estate. The cider goes through a secondary fermentation in bottle and is finished with a dosage of strawberries and blackcurrants. A real wine lover’s cider, on the nose it’s clean and crisp, bursting with green apple, spring blossom and a subtle hint of strawberry and blackcurrant. Enjoy with English cream teas, light desserts and fresh fruits. Or just on its own!