Dessert wine? From England? How do you do that? Good question, the short answer is, ‘With difficulty’. Many dessert wines from around the world are simply left on the vine for longer periods to accumulate more sugar and in the case of ice wines, they are left out until the grapes are frozen. If English vineyards tried that, they would produce a lovely bottle of rot.
For this wine, Hattingley harvest the grapes at a higher than usual sugar ripeness (so they leave them out for a bit longer than normal, weather permitting) then they put around 4 tonnes of Bacchus grapes in their walk-in freezer where they stay at minus 10 degrees for two weeks. Once the usual harvest is over, they take the frozen grapes out, put them in their press and press them extremely gently to extract the juice. The result is a very concentrated, pure fruit liquid that has high amounts of sugar. The benefit of using Bacchus is that the sugar is balanced out by a wonderful fresh acidity, therefore the wine is not cloying. It shows a lot of fragrant elderflower and ripe juicy pineapple.
Hattingley Valley uses the latest technology and equipment from continental Europe, has sophisticated waste disposal facilities and was the first UK winery to adopt solar power. The vines are nurtured throughout the growing year with an environmentally-sensitive approach to viticulture ensuring optimum ripeness, yield and quality of fruit.