In honour of English Wine Week I purchased two bottles of English Sparkling Wine from Hattingley Valley vineyard which is based in Hampshire, UK. I hadn’t heard of them before, and I have never been to Hampshire, but I was trying to find an affordable English wine to help me celebrate English Wine Week. Now the problem for us vegans is that it is not always clear which vineyards are vegan-friendly and more often than not some of a vineyards wines are vegan-friendly and others not so it does involve rather a lot of investigative work to find out which wines we can actually drink! In addition, I did find that the majority of the English wines I came across, particularly if you buy direct from the vineyard, are expensive, or rather beyond my own personal budget – which is not huge.
After trawling through a lot of different English vineyards, initially focusing on ones based in Kent, given that this is where I am based, I did come across these Hattingley Valley sparkling wines which at £19 is still at the upper end of what I would personally like to spend on a bottle of wine, but is not out of reach. Plus after looking at lots of different wines I started craving a nice glass of chilled sparkling wine so was determined to find a decent and affordable vegan sparkling wine!
I ordered a bottle of their sparkling white wine “The English Gent” and a bottle of their sparkling red wine “The English Lady”, the latter being the one I am reviewing here, as I have yet to open the other one.
Both wines arrived promptly, within a couple of days, and I was super impressed by their eco-friendly ethos. Being environmentally friendly and being vegan do go hand in hand for me so I was very impressed by their use of eco-friendly foam packaging chips and the fact that they included a leaflet about how to recycle every part of their packaging and the bottle and cork, etc. too. They also included a leaflet all about their business, their wine-making processes and their range of wines.
I loved this attention to detail, so much so that I couldn’t wait to try their wine! I have started with their sparkling red, The English Lady, which is a blend of 67% Pinot Précoce and 33% Pinot Noir and is made using the traditional bottle-fermented method. What I first noted was the crazy amount of fizz, no other way to describe it, not that I haven’t had sparkling wine or champagne before but the fizz just kept coming and felt like a light mousse in your mouth. This is a dry, light and delicate sparkling wine overall and is a vibrant ruby colour full of red fruit aromas and flavours. I do find it hard to really isolate individual aromas/flavours sometimes but I could definitely pick up on cranberries and cherries and maybe even a hint of spice too. Long story short, I loved it and would definitely buy it again and recommend it. I would, however, recommend drinking it lightly chilled not overly cold as I felt I could taste the flavours better when chilled compared to when it became too cold in the fridge.
As an end-note, I hadn’t realised it initially but since adding this vineyard and these wines to my vegan-friendly wine list I noticed that in fact every wine currently in their online shop is vegetarian and vegan friendly so that makes it easier to buy from them, however these sparkling wines were their most affordable/budget-friendly wines so expect to pay more for their other offerings. Having said that, their still white wine is £19.50 so I might try that one at some stage. In addition, after purchasing these wines, I subsequently discovered that both these wines were released as new small batch wines specifically in celebration of English Wine Week. These are limited-run 2019 sparkling wines of which only 1,300 bottles have been made available for both so you might need to get your skates on if you want to sample a bottle!