The Co-op have teamed up with Hush Heath Estate to launch their first premium English rosé fizz

13th Aug 19 | Lifestyle

Sam Wylie-Harris heads to the beautiful Kent countryside to meet the man behind the wine.

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There’s a fashion among supermarkets to have an own-label rosé wine that’s reliable and comes at a good price. And there’s comfort in something with enough fruit and freshness to pass the first sip test.

And so, recognising the importance of English sparkling wines, Co-op has sourced a seriously impressive rosé from the producer behind ‘England’s most exclusive pink fizz’ – and it’s pretty fabulous.

Hush Heath Estate was founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Richard Balfour-Lynn. Their flagship Balfour Brut Rosé became the first English wine to be proffered in British Airways First Class, was the bubbles of choice at the London Olympics 2012, graces wine lists around the world and has won an impressive stash of industry gold medals.

Irresistible Eight Acres Sparkling Rose, Co-op
Irresistible Eight Acres Sparkling Rosé, Kent (SWH/PA)

Today, Hush Heath comprises 400 acres of perfectly manicured vineyards and they produce an ever-growing range of Balfour still and sparkling wines, beers and ciders. And most importantly, the Co-op’s Irresistible Eight Acres Sparkling Rosé, which retails for £18.

At an exclusive tasting held at the estate before its nationwide launch, Balfour-Lynn tells us more…

In the world of own-label English sparkling rosé, what makes Eight Acres stand out from the crowd?

“It’s the delightful fruit coming through, red berries, strawberries, blackberries. And then you have this wonderful acidity and length, really long length… 30 seconds after, you’re still getting your mouth puckered from the acidity, the freshness, clean as well. It’s very, very precise,” says Balfour-Lynn.

How does Hush Heath differ from other English wine estates?

Hush Heath Estate, Kent
Hush Heath Estate with Hush Heath Manor in background (SWH/PA)

“What makes Hush Heath unique is its 400 acres of garden. And in the middle of it is our house which was built in 1503, Hush Heath Manor [the Balfour-Lynn family home]. And it’s our garden, so our vineyards, apple orchards and woodlands are immaculate,” says Balfour-Lynn.

Tasting Room at Hush Heath, The View
Selection of sparkling wines in The View tasting room (SWH/PA)

“We’re a family business, we’re authentic, we grow the grapes here, we make the wines here, we sell the wines from here and our greatest passion is people visiting the estate and understanding the authenticity of the product.”

How has Hush Heath opened its cellar door and made its mark in wine tourism?

Hush Heath's tasting room The View
The View tasting room, Hush Heath Estate (SWH/PA)

“We want to share the journey of English wines with visitors,” says Balfour-Lynn, who says their tasting room is like “something you’d see in Napa Valley or Sonoma, California, or Margaret River in Australia.”

“People want experiences. We’re open every day of the year, you don’t have to pay, you don’t have to book, it’s free to go round the estate and you can taste our wines… and we’re a generous estate,” he adds.

Zebra in The View tasting room, Hush Heath
Zebra life-size sculpture, The View tasting room, Hush Heath Estate (SWH/PA)

“It’s not just generous in pouring wine, but it’s the time our team have to talk to people.”

“We feel we’re sharing this adventure with people who come here and that’s what I think sets us apart,” he continues.

Richard Balfour-Lynn with his wife, Leslie
Richard Balfour-Lynn with his wife, Leslie (SWH/PA)

“If people ask me what I do, I say I’m in the entertainment business – I’m here to make people smile. But not only do I want visitors to smile, I want the people working with us to smile. I want people to come in here and feel excited about what we’re doing.”

Sign to The Vineyard, Hush Heath Estate
Sign to The Vineyards (SWH/PA)

Irresistible Eight Acres Sparkling Rosé, Kent, England, priced £18 is available in 650 Co-op stores nationwide from Wednesday, August 14.

© Press Association 2019

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