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Four English sparkling wines to try this summer

Rathfinny completes its wine portfolio with the release of these Sussex Sparklings to celebrate 10th anniversary

Photography: Tais Sirote Styling: Laura Little

This year was set to be another milestone in the history of Rathfinny Wine Estate. Not only does 2020 mark 10 years since the Alfriston-based vineyard was established, the estate has also released its inaugural ‘house-style’ 2016 Classic Cuvée and three other sparkling wines for your summer drinks list.

Classic Cuvée, 2016

This ‘entry level’ sparkling cuvée, a blend of 57% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay and 21% Pinot Meunier has been aged in bottle for 36 months and is vintage dated with all the grapes coming from the 2016 harvest. This was something that was really important to vineyard owners Sarah and Mark Driver, who didn’t want to go down the non-vintage route. With a recommended retail price under £30 – and with some retailers selling for £26.50 – it’s hoped the release will open up the premium English Sparkling market to more people.

Blanc de Noirs, 2016

Primarily made with Pinot Noir (91% blended with 6% Pinot Meunier and 3% Chardonnay), this sparkling – the second vintage of what is described as their ‘signature wine’, priced at £38 – has a rose gold hue and just 3g/l dosage. Notes of apple, cherry and refined plum pair well with duck and sweet pork dishes.

Blanc de Blancs, 2016

The second vintage of this elegant sparkling (the first was in 2014) this Blanc do Blanc, also priced at £38, is made from 90% Chardonnay, 8% Pinot Noir, and 2% Pinot Meunier with 36 months on lees.

Pale honeysuckle in colour, it has a sumptuous nose of lemon curd with a zesty fresh grapefruit flavour on the palate, delicate bubbles and a peachy stone-fruit finish. Pairs well with shellfish like crab.

Rathfinny Rosé Brut, 2017

Picked a year later than the other three 2020 releases, this rosé, priced at £36, is packed with vibrant red fruit notes of cranberry, cherry, raspberry and redcurrant.

Made from 63% Pinot Noir, 19% Chardonnay and 18% Pinot Meunier, with 24 months on lees and 4g/l dosage, this lively sparkling has fine, youthful bubbles and an elegant lasting finish with a hint of quince. Pair with tart desserts like rhubarb crumble or sweet and sour Asian dishes.  

Rathfinny Wine Estate, Alfriston, East Sussex BN26 5TU. 01323 871031 /

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