Engineering consultant Lawrence Warr began his career in Formula One racing, where he presumably witnessed podium winners putting good Champagne to waste. This has not deterred him from establishing his own sparkling wine business which he's named Henners in honour of a distant French relative.
Wines are made using exclusively estate-grown fruit, which ought to help ensure quality levels. The vineyards which cover ca. 4 ha, were planted in 2007 with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Munier. Production levels are small with the 2014 harvest expected to produce ca. 30,000 bottles. The intention has always been to produce high-quality sparkling wines, with the emphasis very much on quality rather than quantity. A portion of grape must is fermented in old oak to add complexity and wines typically spend anywhere from 22-36 months on lees. Henners have announced that they are cellaring bottled wines on lees in order to be able to produce a multi-vintage wine (as opposed to non-vintage). The first such release is scheduled for 2016.
Hernner's website and Twitter feed carries the strapline "The Finest English Sparkling Wine". That's some claim and, given its short track record and the current competition, frankly nonsense. Nonetheless they are already producing very high quality sparkling wines and it will be fascinating to see how the estate develops over the coming few years.
Henners Brut, 2010
Pale gold; citrus, yeasty, autolytic nose; dry, fresh acidity, creamy citrus and ripe red fruits, brioche; med+ length; complex, lovely finish (23 Oct 2014) Outstanding, 92/100