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Balfour Wines and Majestic Team Up To Champion New English Wine Styles

Following the successful introduction last autumn of a range of limited edition wines made by the talented father and son team, Owen and Fergus Elias, Balfour Wines at Hush Heath Estate have launched three more English wines with a ‘difference’ as part of their Winemaker Collection.

Celebrating the links between fine art and fine wine, owner – and contemporary art enthusiast – Leslie Balfour-Lynn has once again commissioned a leading artist to create striking and original labels for the new Winemaker Collection trio. Lothar Götz is a painter well-known for his use of vibrant colour and geometric abstraction, and his three designs reflect the singular qualities of each wine.

The new wines include a sparkling rosé called ‘Saignée’ the first wine released from the Balfour winery using this method; ‘Les Sixes 2014 ’ a sparkling white made from the 6 permitted champagne grape varieties including Petite Meslier and the extremely rare Arbanne, and ‘ The Suitcase’ a brooding Pinot Noir from the rich 2018 vintage made from Burgundy clones.

All three wines, with their specially commissioned contemporary art labels, will be launched exclusively in Majestic nationwide from 14th December 2020.

Chief Commercial Officer at Majestic, Robert Cooke, explains:
“English Wine has long been an area we like to shout about at Majestic. But this launch is about so much more than resting on our collective laurels. We want to really push the boundaries of the category; to capitalise on the growth we’ve seen this year and cement the position of English wine in customers’ minds as high quality, innovative and delicious. These Balfour wines do exactly that. I think an awful lot of Majestic customers may well opt for these bottles on their Christmas table this year – which is an incredible proposition”.

Adam Williams, Sales Director, Balfour Wines at Hush Heath Estate adds:
“We’re proud of how these wines look and taste – and also what they represent. The English wine scene is becoming more diverse by the day. And we are delighted to be working with Majestic to put these fantastic wines firmly in the spotlight this December. We are on the crest of an exciting wave of opinion in this country, and our talented Balfour winemaking team have created three superb wines that have pushed the boundaries of English wine once more. I would urge everyone to give an English bottle a try this December, and continue to follow our story. There’s so much more to come”.

2020 could prove to be a defining year for English Wines sales, with growth at national UK retailer Majestic up over 150% against the previous year. A noticeable feature within this sales success is the number of new customers who have tried an English wine this year, over 70,000 of them alone at Majestic. All fuelling this growth.

With interest in wines grown in the UK reaching an all-time high, not least influenced by lockdown trends and the ‘staycation’ effect on vineyard tourism, both Balfour and Majestic believe it is the perfect time to be pushing boundaries in the category.

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About the wines:

LES SIXES 2014 rrp £55 (£50 with Majestic’s 6 bottle discount) A tribute to the forgotten grapes of Champagne. Balfour were the first English winery to plant the almost extinct, historic varieties Arbanne and Petite Meslier which make up less than 0.6% of the total area of Champagne. Notoriously difficult to grow, they bring a unique flavour profile and aromatic qualities. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Meunier and Pinot Blanc make up the blend to create ‘Les Sixes’, a rich, complex and extremely rare wine.

Grapes were hand-picked and fermented in stainless steel, with just 2000 bottles made. The wine spent five years on lees and will be disgorged in 500 bottle lots. Les Sixes 2014 is an intense pale gold in colour, with a soft mousse and notes of yeast and French toast on the nose leading into a rich yet fresh palate of citrus zest and strawberry acidity.

SAIGNéE 2018 rrp £34.99 (£29.99 with Majestic’s 6 bottle discount) The first ever Balfour rosé to be made using this method. The colour is extracted from a brief period of skin contact, rather than through blending, creating a sparkling wine with structure, body and aromatic richness. The result is a rosé with a unique herby character of crushed rose petals, dried fennel and thyme, resonant of the terroir and the exceptional conditions of the 2018 harvest. Head Winemaker Fergus Elias explains: “Saignée has always been a method that has intrigued me for the unique flavour profile that it brings. The legendary 2018 vintage was the perfect opportunity to create a wine in this way. The result is a wine with a remarkable palate, and which encapsulates the spirit of our Winemaker Collection”

Finally, THE SUITCASE 2018 rrp £34.99 (£29.99 with Majestic’s 6 bottle discount) A red wine from two parcels of Pinot Noir on the prime Foxridge vineyard at the top of Hush Heath Estate. When it was first planted, Balfour consultant winemaker Owen Elias chose the famous Burgundy clones ‘Dijon’ 828 and 777 – cuttings of which, in the 1960s, were allegedly wrapped in damp cloth and smuggled in suitcases into the United States. Known thereafter as the ‘Suitcase’ clones, they are challenging to grow because of their small tight bunches and low yields, but renowned for their colour, flavour and great potential for still wine.

This was why Owen selected these clones, and why, too, this wine – also from the exceptional 2018 harvest – was given its name. It is deep and brooding with rich truffle, plum and herb flavours more in keeping with Burgundy than Kent. Owen, who made just 5000 bottles of The Suitcase, is excited about its prospects and sees this as ‘major a step forward for English red wine’.

All three wines are also available direct from Balfour and their website (www.hushheath.com) as well as Majestic stores nationwide. For more information contact Adam Williams, Sales Director ([email protected])

For press information, please contact Fiona Campbell, PR Consultant to Balfour wines at the Hush Heath Estate: [email protected] (07836 595 131)
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About Majestic

Majestic is the UK’s largest specialist wine retailer, operating a network of over 190 stores nationwide, plus two in France. Founded in 1980, the company recently passed back into private ownership.

There is no minimum purchase shopping at Majestic, and the range includes over 1,100 different wine, spirits and beers both online and in-store.

Majestic’s key strength is over 1,000 WSET trained colleagues offering knowledgeable, friendly service across all channels.

For more information, please contact: Jack Merrylees // 07920264268 // [email protected]

About Balfour Winery at the Hush Heath Estate

Located on the beautiful 400 acre Hush Heath Estate, Balfour Wines are located in Staplehurst, Kent, and are one of England’s leading wine producers. The winery and Estate are open year round to the public for tours, tastings and experiences.

For more information contact Adam Williams / 07825758833/ [email protected]

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