Balfour Brut Rose 2005
Balfour Brut Rose is being hailed as the greatest pink fizz to ever come out of England scooping the coveted gold medal and trophy at the International Wine Challenge in 2008. It seems, within just two vintages, Richard Balfour-Lyn, the producer, has succeeded in his ambition to create the “finest Rose Sparkling Wine” in England but “comparable with the great Rose Champagnes”?
I went along to the oh so chic Bluebird club on Chelsea’s Kings Road to taste the Balfour Brut Rose and speak to their wine consultant, Stephen Skelton MW about the wine, the estate and the demand for this very special English Rose.
Balfour Brut Rose is made at the Hush Heath Estate in Kent, England, a tiny vineyard currently set in just 4 hectares this is the only UK vineyard to focus 100% on sparkling Rose and is aiming to become a sparkling rose spoken in the same breath as the best from Champagne. A high aim indeed, but with men like Stephen Skelton MW working alongside chief winemaker Owen Elias and already a bagful of trophies in just two short vintages there may only be one thing to put pay to Richard Balfour-Lyn’s dream of creating world class pink fizz; the good old English weather.
However, with climate change working in the favour of the estate it is now possible to grow grapes in England that were once thought impossible. Traditionally English wines have come from Germanic grapes but with summers like ’04, ’05 and ’06 it has been possible to tease a fine expression from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meuiner (traditional grapes of Champagne) in Cranbrook, just 10 miles south of Maidstone.
The wine is obviously limited production and goes some way to explaining the price, however, comparing the £28.50 you’d pay for this sparkling rose at Bibendum to the equivalent French product; the difference in quality is immense.
Balfour Brut Rose 2005 – BUY – £28.50
A very delicate salmon pink. On the nose the wine has hints of red current and strawberries. On the palate the wine has very good crisp acidity and carries hints of red apple and raspberry. A refreshing, complex and well made sparkling rose perfect as an aperitif. 92 Points
Where can I buy this wine?
No Dice. Tiny production, but as of today the estate are signing for another 7 hectares so you may be able to get this wine in the USA in the next couple of years. In the UK you can buy this wine at the Bluebird club in Chelsea or online at Bibendum
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