Sparkling Harlot: but what really is in a name?

By the name itself, I was intrigued. When I read the “Refuse to conform”, I was sold. Plus it is sparkling wine so surely Harlot could not go much wrong in my books.

Not many sentences, or set of (add to the non-conforming one “unapologetically different”) could make this English sparkling closer to my heart, even though they did cause quite a lot of controversy in the English wine industry: the name, the method, the brand…

However, I am a drink, not a wine expert, so as no one asked, here are my views and some facts – because you know I love the facts..

Harlot comes in two versions: Harlot Brut NV Charmat of England and Harlot Rosé Brut NV Charmat of England. I was lucky enough to try both at their launch even in London.

The Brut is in taste, what I’d place between prosecco and champagne – less sweet that prosecco, but closer to it then it is to the drier champagne, which is my first drink of choice (my pocket often disagrees). It has elderflower, pears and apricots aromas and flavours.

The Rosé Brut is a solid sparkling rosé, fruity, but not overly sweet. The contact with the Pinot Noir skin makes it pink. Cute.

Grapes on both are Bacchus, Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chadornnay and they have gentle, playful and plentiful bubbles, are 12.5% abv and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

They also market themselves as “bubbles that want to have fun” and go great with cocktails. The proof was in the pudding drink at the event where I tried it all Unapologetically different (cognac based, fruity), Harlotini (gin and strawberry) and Some bubbles just want to have fun (a sparkling fruit punch) cocktails and they were delicious. Versatility box: tick! Recipes can be found on their website.

I quite like the brand’s irreverence. It has a riskè name (go on, look it up) but it is not scared of that. It sells a playful, out of the mould image and I am here for it. I have been called names in the past and embracing it (and maybe sticking a big finger up) was the best thing I could do.

In my natural habitat: drowning in bubbles. Yum.

It does help that their loud packaging is just there in your face and I don’t have a problem with it. Of course, IT’S WINE, sparkles, tastes good, so I am in!

Harlot is a charmat, which refers to its method of carbonation (bubbling, for you and me): a sparkling winemaking process that traps bubbles in wine via carbonation in large steel tanks. They are looking to revolutionise the English wine industry with the ambition of being the biggest national producer by 2025, from their Kent vineyards.

MDCV UK’s expertise, however, has a longer tradition, both in the UK and France, with known names such as Chateau de Berne, Ultimate Provence and Sussex-based Kingscote. They are also passionate about the quality of their product and sustainability, managing their vineyards organically always seeking to use methods that minimise environmental impact.

Currently mainly available to trade, Harlot is making its way into restaurants as an alternative to prosecco. Has bottomless brunch written all over it.

It can also be purchased from The Wine Caverns for £16 a bottle (affiliate link) (750ml) with cases of 6 or 12 with a 15% discount.

Would you be open to an alternative to prosecco? Let me know your thoughts!

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: I was invited to an even to sample the product for free, with no obligation to post. Opinions (and taste buds) are honest and my own.

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