Lions have a Sparkling day out

As restrictions ease, Lion Eric is springing in to action to promote the social side of Lionism. The event in question was a visit and tour of the Hattingley Valley Wines vinyard near Alresford. Of course no such visit would be complete without the opportunity to sample a few of Hattingley Valley’s award winning range of Sparkling wines and still wines.

When the other Lions and partners arrived, there was concern that Eric was nowhere to be seen, had he got there early and was nursing a hangover in a darkened room from consuming all the samples before the others turned up? No, in fact he had got lost en-route which as Lion Dave said was hardly surprising as it was in the ‘middle of nowhere’. Once arrived they had an excellent morning with very informative talk, guide and tasting starting at 10.45 through to 1.00. One of the Lion’s sons was coerced into providing transport to get some of the, by now, sleepy Lions home.

The Hattingley Valley vinyard was planted in 2008 and produced its first vintage in 2010 to become one of the leading wineries in Britain. It released its first wines in 2013 and was awarded a gold medal at the Decanter world wine awards.

Lion Dave wrote:

On a bright warm Sunday morning, eight members wound their way through several increasingly narrower country lanes to visit Hattingley Valley Wines.

On arrival we were all temperature checked and given the Covid Safety precautions, before our guide, Becky, told us how Hattingley came about, and how it has developed over its near 15 year life.   To ensure we “got into the right frame of mind”, we started the tasting before venturing out to the display vineyard where more details about the process and problems were presented, and how the wines the varied depending on weather, grape mix and the processes used in their manufacture.

Returning indoors to where the wine is aged in barrels, we were treated next to the Hattingley  Valley Rose which has been winning awards since its first year of release, and this accompanied our visit to the presses and where the winemaking process actually takes place (surrounded by stainless steel tanks / vats and  pipes). Our next port of call was the finishing plant where Becky explained how the sediment is removed from the bottles and the corks and labels are attached.  For some of Hattingley’s production, this is a purely manual operation due to the small volume of certain wines, such as the Entice Dessert Wine. 

Leaving several pallets of British Airways Blanc de Noirs in their brightly coloured cases, we then returned to the barrel ageing room to try the Blanc de Blanc and Hattingley’s still white wine, both made from the same grape varieties, but using different processes and ageing times to produce either a sparkling or a still white wine.

Apart from the enjoyment of generous glasses of award winning wines, we all agreed this was probably the best wine-tasting tour any of us had experienced, so well done Eric for finding and booking the event to get us back on the road to “doing stuff”.