Black Chalk Classic 2016 is a great example of how far English wine has come in the 28 years I have legally been allowed to buy wine (let us brush over the several years before that). The 2015 before it was very classy and The Editor, a great friend and I really enjoyed the Wild Rose 2015.
This is a far cry from how things used to be. In the early 90s, a friend and I attended a tasting of a broad selection of English wines at the London Wine Trade Fair. When he remarked that one particular monstrosity was the best English wine on show, I am afraid I could not restrain myself and said, rather loudly, “I still do not think it is a particularly well-polished turd.”
The bad old days are not completely behind us. Every so often some utter bastard will pour the unsuspecting wine lover a glass of some horror like Seyval Blanc or Bacchus, prompting speedy running to the little person’s room for copious regurgitation. Sadly it is considered bad form to put the head of one’s host in a deep fat fryer even if they try to assault your sensibilities in this manner.
I doubt your imagination can conceive of such a thing, therefore allow me to give pictorial evidence of Fizzy Bum Bum:
Obviously, such a hideous concoction does nothing to help improve the image of English wine. The packaging seems designed to make it seem that paying money for English wine is an insult to the intelligence of even the silliest amongst us.
Then there is the colour of the stuff.
It looks worryingly like the vomit of someone with a bleeding stomach ulcer. Christ, who thought off-pink sewage would be an appealing colour for a drink?
Black Chalk wines are properly good. I am going to get drinking.
Great fresh, zesty nose. Lots of lemon peel that is very energetic.
There is a lot of apple as well, again very fresh. If I will make a guess, and of course my guesses are always correct when it comes to wine, I would say Bramley apple.
This is a good, fresh, generally lovely nose, but it is maybe not as complex as the 2015.
The palate is a bit sweet on the entry, but this helps deal with the acidity which is quite high. I think the tension between the acidity and the plentiful fruit is quite a thrill.
That fruit is very apple-y and lemony, really fresh, really lively, distinctly exciting! It all swirls around your palate because of the ultra-fine mousse. It seems drier on the mid-palate, with that acid-driven fruit making everything sapid and savorous.
The finish definitely seems dry and, like any good Hampshire wine, it has a powerful chalky grip on the finish. It is pretty long.
Obviously this is a good wine and I rather like it. However, whilst it is pleasing, classy and stylish, I do not think it is quite up to the complexity level of the 2015. But it is certainly worth the money, and you won’t be disappointed if you buy some to drink for any occasion.
Buy directly from Black Chalk.