Sparkling Wine Flavour Log 1.2 - Orchard and Hedgerow

(See this post for an introduction to this series.)

If It Has Pips 'n Seeds....


...it belongs here. Alongside citrus fruits, orchard and hedgerow fruits are some of the most commonly-found aromas in Traditional Method Wines. In their purest sense, they are primary fruit aromas that will be there in the original base wines. However there's a huge variation in the interest and quality of the fruit to be found, just as there's a huge difference between the flavour of a supermarket Granny Smith that's been half-frozen for 4 months and a ripe Orange Pippin plucked from your garden tree.

Conference pears growing in England - destined to remain green and crunchy

Things get interesting where these fruits interact with the other moving parts of sparkling winemaking. Again, I always find myself drawn to culinary imagery; is that ripe, red pear taking on a bit of spice from some oak, are those apples a bit 'autumnal' (i.e. not squeaky-clean, perhaps showing some oxidative tendencies), is that quince just part of a big, sticky, caramalised tatin...? 

Aside from the 'A-list' orchard fruit, 'hedgerow' is a conveniently-English way of grouping together all the wonderful, wild fruits that are part of a cool-climate autumnal fragrance. Apples and pears, although primarily 'white grape' flavours, can pop up in wines from all three varieties. The hedgerow fruits, however. seem to be Pinot creatures most easily spotted in Rosé wines (though certainly found in Blancs too).

The hedgerow flavours form part of the flavour of some recognisable 'bitters' and can verge on green and medicinal (not always a nice character). When they are over-the top in a Rosé they make me think of a less-than-ideally-ripe red grapes (i.e. some English examples). When they are not too prominent or green they're lovely flavours, though, making me think of all the autumnal jellies my dad used to make when all the 'proper' fruit and veg were finished. Even though they are berries, I also often think of Cranberries as having a 'hedgerow'-type flavour.

Click Here to View The Flavour Log



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