English Wine Week with Hush Heath Estates

May 28, 14 English Wine Week with Hush Heath Estates

English Wine Week has begun and last night I was invited to the new pub, The Bull at the Hyde in the City to a dinner hosted by the Richard Balfour-Lynn, the owner of English vineyard, Hush Heath Estates. This was the first dinner for  the pub’s new tasting club, The Cunning Plan Wine & Spirits Club.

Richard Balfour-Lynn, owner Hush Heath Estates

Richard Balfour-Lynn, owner Hush Heath Estates

Richard first planted vines in 2002 because he had always wanted a vineyard but in Spain or France or Italy. When the opportunity to buy the derelict land near his estate in Kent came up, his wife suggested that instead of going to the Continent, why not plant vines literally in his own backyard. The rest as they say is history.

I’ve always liked the Hush Heath rosé and last night was no exception. I really enjoyed the food matches that Chef Kalifa Diakhaby created for the evening. The Balfour Brut rosé 2010 was paired with perfectly roasted scallops with pureed cauliflower. The scallops were delicious, not mushy or rubbery as can happen so often. The rosé is full of fruit but having refreshing acidity and long length.

Balfour Brut rose and scallops

Balfour Brut rose and scallops

With the main of rabbit terrine, we had the Balfour Blanc de blanc 2010. The rabbit was another delicious dish, perfumed with truffle oil and garnished with sauteed mushrooms. The blanc de blanc that was paired with it comes from a small parcel of chardonnay from the Oast House Meadow and only 100 cases have been made. 2010 was a very good year and the grapes were allowed to hang until late October, which gave grapes with high sugar content and intense flavours. The blanc de blanc was well balanced with definite fruity notes on the palate but a dry, lime finish.

Balfour Blanc de blanc and rabbit terrine

Balfour Blanc de blanc and rabbit terrine

The big surprise of the evening was the Jake’s Orchard Sparkling Cider with Strawberries and Blackcurrants. It’s a bottle fermented cider that has a dosage of strawberries and blackcurrants added. Richard commented that this is a “cider made for wine drinkers by wine makers…” It was the most refined cider I’ve ever had, full of red and green apple flavours with soft bubbles, light and lively and very drinkable.  Paired with strawberries marinated in the cider and served on custard, the cider was a good match, not overpowering but still having plenty of flavour.

Jake's Orchard cider and dessert

Jake’s Orchard cider and dessert

Hush Heath also produces a 100%  chardonnay wine, Skye’s Chardonnay. It is un-oaked and very dry, loads of lime on the palate. A bit too dry for my tastes but would be suitable for a hot summer’s day – if we ever get one!

The Bull will be hosting other dinners in the future so check out their website for more info. As for last night’s dinner, it was a great way for me to start English Wine Week.






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