Summer is here. To me that means more time spent outdoors and much more time enjoying a few treats in the sunshine. There are few activities that seem a better marriage of those two things, than sparkling wine in a beautiful vineyard. A prime example of that is Harrow & Hope Sparkling wine. UK Winery of the Year for 2019 and a glittering example of traditionally made English Sparkling wine.
Harrow & Hope is a small family run vineyard, still in its infancy, who are already beginning to do great things. They take their name from two things. One being the broken harrows, which is a type of plough,, the challenging terroir caused. The other being the hope they always possessed that they could turn this vineyard into something spectacular. Now, the harrows are back in action and the hope that they had was clearly well placed.
We can now look into where you can find Harrow & Hope, the magical English winemakers behind it and the styles of sparkling wine they produce.
Where is Harrow & Hope Vineyard?
Harrow & Hope is located by the town of Marlow, situated on the river Thames. Marlow’s name comes from the Old English ‘Mere Iafan’. This translates to the ‘land left after the draining of a pond’. The idea of land left after retreating water serves as a clear analogy for the vineyards at Harrow & Hope. The terrain of Harrow & Hope is set in the Chiltern hills. Hills forged by the retreating waters of the Thames.
Harrow & Hope, (and Marlow), are around 30 miles from central London. Therefore, it can be driven to in under an hour from within the M25. However, for those wanting to sample a number of the great Harrow & Hope sparkling wines on offer, public transport is also an option. Simply use the underground to access the Bakerloo line. Then from Marylebone, get a train out to High Wycombe. Afterward, any number of local taxi firms, or Uber will get you to Harrow & Hope in no time.
Marlow offers picturesque surroundings, the Harrow & Hope vineyards, as well as some fantastic spots to eat. Marlow being home to Tom Kerridge’s two Michelin stars ‘The Hand & Flowers’ – if you really want to treat yourself! Indeed, Harrow & Hope sparkling wine is even at Tom Kerridge’s other Marlow eatery, ‘The Coach’.
Who is Harrow & Hope’s Winemaker?
The main man behind Harrow & Hope’s sparkling wine is Henry Laithwaite. It would not be right to discuss the success and awards that Harrow & Hope has found without discussing him. Although Henry is not the first member of his family to make a living in the world of wine. Indeed, the name Laithwaite is no doubt familiar to many of the wine lovers among us. Tony Laithwaite, (Henry’s father), is no less than the founder of the wine merchant ‘Laithwaite’s’.
A case can be made that wine is in Henry Laithwaite’s blood and his travels reaffirm this fact. As he states, his wife Kaye, (who runs Harrow & Hope with him), has stuck by him as he “disappeared to Australia and France”. These trips to some of the great producers of wine in the world were not holidays. They were fact finding missions. The purpose was for him to be able to work the harvest and see first hand what it means to be a great vintner.
In Australia, he spent time in the Mclaren Vale, one of the most renowned wine regions in Southern Australia. Where he met some powerful allies. The late Dr Tony Jordan, influential Australian winemaker, was among them. The time Henry spent in France was also key to the genesis of Harrow & Hope. It was in the Castillon region of Bordeaux where Henry Laithwaite purchased his first vines.
Soon after cutting his teeth in famous vineyards abroad, Henry was back in England. Harrow & Hope quickly established themselves as one of the brightest new faces on the English sparkling wine scene. Long-time friend Dr Tony Jordan is quoted as saying that he was, “astounded by the quality”, of Harrow & Hope sparkling wine. Particularly, in spite of their relative youth.
Top Harrow & Hope Sparkling Wines
Now, we get onto the sparkling wine itself. This is what you came for above all else. Harrow & Hope focus exclusively on producing traditional method sparkling English wine. As such, they don’t have an extensive list of potential products, but what they do – they do it right.
Harrow & Hope Non-Vintage Brut
Let’s begin with something classic, the Harrow & Hope Non-Vintage Brut. A signature blend of the three main grapes found in the champagne region. These are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Expect a beautifully balanced mix of citrus and apricot, with hints of cherry following shortly after. A perfect place to start with Harrow & Hope sparkling wine.
There is then the Brut Reserve. Currently, Harrow & Hope are on their fifth vintage of the Brut Reserve. This blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay & 20% Pinot Meunier creates something quite spectacular. With vintage number 4 Reserve receiving a wide number of the highest accolades one can hope for in the world of sparkling wine, it is no doubt that the number 5 will also be a delicious option from Harrow & Hope.
Harrow & Hope Rose Brut Vintage ’17
If you prefer something pink, then you’re in luck as Harrow & Hope produce a fantastic Rose alternative. In particular the 2017 Vintage, a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier. While severe frosts affected Europe throughout this year, a dedicated team lighting candles along the vineyard, helped ensure this spectacular wine came to fruition. While on the nose you will think you’re in a field of English strawberries, a crisp acidity to the wine will wake you up and be the perfect partner for a hot Summer’s day.
One final honourable mention from the locker of Harrow & Hope sparkling wine is their 2015 Blanc de Noirs. In the region of Champagne, Blanc de Noirs would be from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This is exactly the same for Harrow & Hope. Citrus notes are again strong here, but one can also expect a certain yeasty undertone. This is decadence and undeniably so.
Harrow & Hope Vineyard Tours & Wine Tastings
If all this fantastic Harrow & Hope Sparkling wine sounds enticing, then a trip to Marlow might be a necessity. Harrow & Hope Vineyards offer tours and wine tastings giving you the opportunity to sample all the fruits of their labour, while taking in the stunning views of the River Thames on the rolling Chiltern hills.
A member of the team will lead you through the scenic vineyard and give you a chance to learn more about their traditional approach to winemaking, as they say “from vine to bottle”. Not only this but the tour is rounded off with a guided tasting from 3 of their top award-winning Harrow & Hope Sparkling wines.
These tours start from just £25 per person, with £10 of that refundable for any purchases you wish to make while you’re there. An extremely tempting offer I’m sure you will agree. The tour generally takes around 1.5 to 2 hours and it is advised that sensible shoes and clothing are worn. You don’t want to be dressing to the nines, if there’s a potential for muddy fields.
Where to Buy Harrow & Hope Sparkling Wine
Harrow & Hope’s own site has a great search tool which allows you to view previous vintages and see their availability. You may want to see how 2016 compares to 2019. Another option is to compare the award-winning NV Brut 4 to the latest offering from Harrow & Hope. Indeed, all of the wines we have mentioned are available directly from them right now.
However, Savage Vines are also offering a number of great options for Harrow & Hope Sparkling wine. Single bottles are available, as well as some great deals on single style and mixed cases. So whether you’re catering for just yourself, or a party – we’ve got you covered.
Enjoy both the Harrow & Hope NV Brut and the famous 2017 Vintage Rose Brut, which was kept alive through tender loving care and candlelight. Not only this, you can enjoy it in one case.
Harrow & Hope is a fantastic option for those looking to explore one of the most exciting vineyards in the UK and taste some of the best sparkling wine which the UK has to offer. However, Harrow & Hope is not alone. There are other options, both for single trips or longer trips to regions in the UK, which is rich with vineyards.
English wine and vineyards are on the rise. It is a great time to investigate and see what great options may be right around the corner. Whether you’re looking to tour a region of the country, (such as Cornwall), or make a flying visit to any number of great options – both are attainable.
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