To the far side of the world and back again, the Heppington Vineyard story is the tale of the prodigal son, and the return of the king.
Owner Henry Blaxford’s ancestor Gregory Blaxford emigrated to Australia in 1806 – an era when the ‘lucky country’ was still a place largely unexplored by Europeans. Yet, with some incredible foresight, Gregory picked up a consignment of grape vines while stopping over at the Cape of Good Hope. By 1813, he had been amongst the first settlers to cross the Blue Mountains, and had planted his vines, later becoming the first ‘Australian’ to export wines back to London.
Two centuries later in 2016, descendent Henry – a noted KC barrister – planted around 15 acres of vines on a chalky, south-facing slope overlooking Canterbury. This Kent vineyard is planted to the classic sparkling wine varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier – and also a little Pinot Gris. Plantings include a mix of sparkling and still wine clones, meaning that the vineyard produces both, from grapes perfectly suited to the particular task.
While the vines are still young, Heppington’s wines are already showing a distinct purity of fruit across the range. The wines are delicate, elegant and finely poised, characteristic of their chalk-dominated soils.
The geological strata of chalk, limestone and clay (peppered with flint) is identical to the champagne region.
Climactic conditions now make East Kent, and the Canterbury area in particular, an optimum location for growing the champagne varieties.
Heppington’s vineyard is on a gentle south facing slope at the perfect height above sea level. It is apt that the city of Canterbury is twinned with Rheims, the birth place of champagne.
Heppington Pinot Noir English Rosé is made from 100% English Pinot Noir grapes, which are grown on their single estate vineyard, in the heart of Kent’s beautiful south downs.
It has delicate notes of nectarine, crisp red apple, pomegranate and cranberry. It’s at its most delicious served chilled with light dishes and alfresco meals on a summer’s day.
Here, we’ve paired Heppington Pinot Noir English Rosé with grilled aubergine and a slow roasted tomato sauce, red cabbage slaw and hunks of sourdough bread for a light early evening supper.
We built MARASBY to be a trusted place where you can find helpful and interesting content about British-grown food and wine.
Our content is written by humans who love local, sustainable and delicious UK wines. We make every effort to check our content, but as humans, we occasionally make mistakes. If you spot anything wrong with the site, we’d always rather you told us. Don’t be shy!