Chafor Vintage Rosé 2014

Chafor Vintage Rosé 2014, England

(£45, Chafor Wine Estate)

I recently had the pleasure of chairing the brand new UK Wine Awards. A task that involved spending two, very enjoyable days tasting nearly 300 English and Welsh wines along with a panel of industry experts.

There was a time, not so long ago, when even the prospect of this job would have filled me (and I imagine my fellow tasters) with trepidation. Not now. The quality of the wines we judged over those two days in mid-May was seriously impressive – and the best of the best were stunning.

In total we awarded 127 Bronze, 36 Silver and 20 Gold medals, so we set the bar pretty high in terms of quality standards. In addition, there were five trophies, as well as an overall Top Still and Top Sparkling wine. There was also a Supreme Champion of the competition which deserves a special mention: Coates and Seely Blanc de Blancs La Perfide 2009, a sensational and perfectly mature Blanc de Blancs from Hampshire.

Although it is almost impossible to choose just one wine of the rest to recommend, I’ve gone for one of the less well-known of the gold medal-winning wines: Chafor Wine Estate Vintage Rosé 2014 from Buckinghamshire.

I have to confess that Chafor didn’t loom large on my radar prior to the competition but when I discovered that this particular wine was made for Tim and Stephanie Chafor by the brilliant Emma Rice and her team at Hattingley Valley, it came as no surprise.

This is an elegant, pale salmon fizz that is a blend of the two Pinots with 7.4g/l dosage and mouthwatering acidity. The nose is stylish and bready, whilst the palate shows great balance and class, with gentle red fruit flavours and hints of autolytic yeastiness. Pretty classy – and perfect for the summer.

Click on this link to find the full UKWA 2017 results. The awards have got some great coverage including in the Observer, Country Life, the Guardian and The Times (behind paywall), among others. There’s also a nice little interview with me on the Hotel du Vin site.

(8/10, Susie, May 2017)