A Tasting of English Sparkling Rosé

In Event Reports, IWFS London Blog by ashepherdiwfs

London Branch’s first live tasting since lockdowns was held in the garden of Christopher Davenport Jones who led it – and to whom many thanks. We were warned to wear appropriate clothing lest the weather proved inclement. In the event, the forecast rain held off, and it was a fine evening for us to compare English sparkling rosés (and one Welsh).

Following the tasting, we enjoyed a delicious supper, accompanied by Barton Guestier Sauternes 2017 “Nectar d’Or”.

English wine has greatly improved over the last decade. Its quality is highly regarded following the last three excellent vintages, climate change with more sunshine enabling longer growing periods, knowledgeable producers applying their expertise in the vineyards and to wine making techniques, and English wine gaining international awards. Over 70% of English wines are sparkling.

We tasted and compared:

Balfour Hush Heath Brut Rosé 2016


Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier.

The vines for this single vineyard wine were planted in 2002.

Summer berry and plum flavours.

Langham Rosé NV 2016 


Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier. Non-vintage with base vintage of 2016.

The vines were planted in 2009.

Cranberry and strawberry flavours and well balanced. This was one of the favourites.

Bride Valley Rosé Bella, 2015


Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier.

First wine release in 2014.

The wine estate of the late much lamented Steven Spurrier and his wife Arabella Spurrier.

Strawberry bouquet and palate.

Marlings Sparkling Rosé Brut


Chardonnay, Reichensteiner and Dornfelder.

The first plantings were in 1990; Reichensteiner and Dornfelder were at that time among the varieties widely used for English wine. These grapes are created from crossings, originating in Germany. The Chardonnay vines have been planted more recently.

Refreshing acidity, red berry and apple palate.

Wyfold Vineyard 50th Anniversary Rosé Brut 2015


Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir.

The first commercially-offered vintage was released in 2013.

Barbara Laithwaite is proprietor of the vineyard, and the “50th anniversary” is wine supplier Laithwaite’s.

Citrus and dark red fruits.

Painshill Vineyard Sparkling Rosé 


Pinot Noir, Chardonnay.

The wine is made for Painshill by Bluebell Vineyard Estate from grapes that are handpicked from its vineyard – a very small production.

Reminiscent of the Balfour Hush Heath that we had tried, but with more evident fruit.

Ridgeview Fitzrovia Rosé


Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier.

Ridgeview was set up in 1995, and is long established in making sparkling wines, now with a large production compared with many English wineries.

Freshness and finesse (from the Chardonnay), raspberries, strawberries and redcurrants.  Another favourite.

Gwinllan Conwy Sparkling Rosé 2018

The winery is in North Wales, and the grapes are from vineyards in Anglesey.

Regent is a red grape crossing from the late 1960s. It is the fourth most planted grape variety in the UK.

Red fruit, cranberry, rosehip.

All these sparkling wines were pale coloured (pink or salmon), well made, with balanced acidity, light, and easy to drink and enjoy.

But they all tasted different with their own characteristics, so it was a wonderful opportunity to compare them directly with each other, to reach individual conclusions as to our preferences.

Rachel Burnett