2016 Classic Cuvée Brut
|Grapes||Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir|
|Origin||United Kingdom, England|
In the third year of releases from Rathfinny finally they have been able to launch their Classic Cuvée blend - the signature wine from the Estate. It spends 36 months bottle ageing and is made up of 57% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay and 21% Pinot Meunier. There is a great 'champagne-like' nose and a floral feel. Palate starts off with enticing 'appletise' notes. Loaded with fresh orchard blossom and bright juiciness. Firm cox apple remains at the heart here but the palate widens to bring in soft citrus hints and dried meadow flowers. Some satisfying weight builds, a more savoury edge to the softly crunching white flesh. Pretty flowers on the finish add some relatively intense aromatics. L&S (May 2020)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
A barnstormer of a brand new release from one of England’s most celebrated wineries. Here we have a vintage fizz, aged for three years in bottle, with a pinot noir-dominated blend, all for well under £30. Stating the obvious, that’s some serious value for money. Expect layers of red apple and crystallised ginger, from a producer that’s spearheaded Sussex to become the UK’s first county-wide winemaking PDO (protected designation of origin) — so we can officially address this as a ‘Sussex Sparkling’. £28.98 (£26.95 for six), Lea & SandemanRob Buckhaven, Metro(Jun 2020)
This is the first ‘Cuvée’ wine released at Rathfinny and it is the intention that wine will be the standard-bearer for the estate going forwards. They will always release vintage wines at Rathfinny, so it is rather unusual, but also interesting, that while others will generally list an NV as the entry-level wine, here, this position will be filled by a vintage release, which should keep people on their toes if nothing else. As Mark adores Pinot Noir, and they have 45% of the 60ha in production devoted to this grape, it was always going to form the backbone of this wine.
The Drivers are at pains to point out that they ‘age the wine for their customers so they are ready to drink on release’. This is a rather odd philosophy for vintage fizz, but given the ripeness that they achieve on their estate and also the low dosages which they include in their wines, the wines always seem unusually forward and so perhaps this is not only a sales tool but it is also based in fact. I haven’t tasted an older vintage (the first releases were the 2014s and I noted that they were not going to live particularly long at the time) but I expect them to at least make five years at the very least
Anyway, this is a 57% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay, 21% Pinot Meunier blend with only 5 g/L dosage and it carries a weighty, green-gold hue and a rather full-framed delivery on both the nose and palate. There is a lot of wine here for a rather competitive price and if they have set out to make a Bolly-shaped-sparkler, for a tenner cheaper than the real thing, then they have done a good job.
There is a heady perfume and an apple and cinnamon compote theme here which is rather alluring and I feel that they have certainly managed to make a wine which suits both their site and their tastes.Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com(May 2020)
In 2018, the Sussex estate of Rathfinny launched its first two sparkling wines from an ambitious project started in 2010. Following a successful career in the city, owner Mark Driver and his wife Sarah, set about building from scratch a world-beating wine estate. They have not flinched from this ambition and have patiently waited 8 years to release there first sparklers.
Located on chalk rich soils in a perfect basin near the sea in Sussex's South Downs it is an ideal spot. With a great team put in place and a long-term vision all is auguring well for the realisation of the Drivers' dream.
In 2019 we have seen the second releases and there is a huge amount to admire. Poised, intense and seriously drinkable wines from this very convincing set up.
A superb new edition to our burgeoning selection of English greats and located in the South Downs of Sussex between Brighton and Eastbourne, Rathfinny sets its sights confidently from the start. Right now there are 185 acres of vines but a further 215 acres are to be planted by 2021.
(The photo sequence shows a year in the Rathfinny vineyard.)
Much is made of the strata of chalk soil that hosts the vineyards of Champagne, that runs under northern France and the Channel to re-emerge in Kent and Sussex as the Downs, and many of England’s vineyards cling to that very chalk soil. But, crucially, we have the climate, on the very margins of where grapes can be persuaded to ripen, to produce the tart base wines that are ideal for high quality sparkling wine production. All that, the classic grape varieties and much expertise and even more enthusiasm has propelled England to the forefront of the sparkling wine world. In this case we've got wines from five different estates, all with something to say on the subject, and the case includes a couple of cheeky rosés because we do it so well.
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