NV Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve, England (750 ml)

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Hattingley Valley was established in Hampshire, England, in 2008. The cool, continental climate is similar to Champagne’s, so the vineyard is south facing to maximize heat and sunlight exposure. (Hampshire is located at about 51° latitude, just within what is generally-considered the most northernly latitude grapes can grow well.) The combination of hillside location and aspect produces grapes that are naturally high in acidity while allowing the grapes to ripen fully. The Robinson family focuses on Champagne varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, along with a smaller proportion of other varietals for blending. The estate is dedicated to eco-friendly practices, generating minimal waste and leveraging solar power.

About 25% of the must is fermented in old white Burgundy barrels to add texture and complexity to the final wine. Partial malolactic fermentation then softens some of the grapes’ naturally high acidity. (Malolactic fermentation converts more bitter malic acid into softer lactic acid.) True to their kinship with Champagne, this sparkling wine is made in the traditional method meaning second fermentation took place in bottle. The wine also spent over 25 months on its lees, adding further texture. Brut dosage of 7g/L maintains the wine’s dryness, while the wine spent a minimum of 5 months on cork before release. Aromas and flavors of fresh and dried apricot, yellow apple, and brioche make for a complex wine with a semi-fine mousse. The wine is a blend of 48% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir, 17% Pinot Meunier, and 2% Pinot Gris.

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