Rathfinny, 2018 Rosé Brut


More wine from England?

Rathfinny's Rosé is a beautifully fresh, vibrant and delightful sparkling wine made from the estate's hand-picked grapes. It's a blend of 81% Pinot Noir, 6% Pinot Meunier and 13% Chardonnay. 24 months of ageing on lees preserves the freshness of the fruit nuance without too much autolytic development, while allowing for sensational flavour and savoury characteristics - it's a belter with food.

The classic colour and outstanding perlage leads to a layered, refined and delightful nose, full of red berry fruits, wild strawberry, citrus and lightly baked bread. It's scintillatingly bright, engaging and seriously delicious; the development from nose to palate is convincing and compelling. It's of no surprise that the largest export market is Japan and the restaurant scene there - this is the perfect match to complex dishes (yeah, it's very, very good on its own, but the greater experience is with really good food).

This is a stunning rosé from one of the most celebrated estates in England. Set in the South Downs area, which begin almost immediately as soon as you head out of Brighton on the A23 to London, the estate was established in 2010 by husband and wife Mark and Sarah Driver. Located on land with rich chalky content in the soils, there is a strong sense of familiarity with Champagne vineyards, which is understandable because the region sits on same 'Paris Basin', the sub-strata of rock that covers the North of France and Champagne, running under the Channel into Kent and Sussex. The Downs themselves are about three miles from the sea, and are sheltered by any poor weather by the roll of the hills onto which they sit, soaking up the sun and warmth (which, of course, is ever increasing in the 21st Century). They're based outside of a tiny village called Alfriston on the way towards Eastbourne, and the capacity of the winery on the estate means that absolutely nothing is done off site: grapes, production, storage, packaging, shipping... the ambition quickly feels like it's completely well-founded and within reach.

That England could produce wine should surprise no one - they have the very same soil types as many of the finest areas where grapes for sparkling wines are grown in the north of France. Add to that the climatic change that we have witnessed over the past three decades it seems inevitable that the right conditions could be met. What is different to European wine regions, of course, is the culture and context and size of land available for growing vines.

In straightforward economic terms, there isn't a critical mass of producers or universally accepted appellation system for the best usage of vineyard areas, or even a significant appetite for drinking or exploring the potential in the UK, which is why the prices are still very high. It's also why the quality and characteristics of the wines can be very variable: much of the outcome is dependent on judicious skill in the winery and vineyard, micro-climates in terroir, the ageing of the wines and the age of vines themselves.

There's lots that has been done here and there is a very shiny and happy feeling that there is a real opportunity to do more, grow the vineyard area, the market and quality. If only Brexit hadn't mucked up so much of their potential export consumer base...

Country: England

Grape(s): Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay

Style: Vibrant, Medium, Fresh, Elegant, Complex, Bright

Best food matches: Warm Salads, Tuna, Trout, Sushi, St Stephen's Day, Squid, Soft Cheeses, Shellfish, Seafood, Scallops, Salads, Lobster, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Goat's Cheese, Fine Dining, Duck, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Asparagus, Aperitif

Alcohol: 12%

Why buy from us?

When you buy wine from The Allotment Wine Co. you're helping a small Irish company that in turn supports small, sustainable wine producers who grow the grapes and make amazing wines. We only work with partners who share a deep respect and connection with the land and its traditions, witnessed in a firm commitment to quality and sustainability. All of which makes for better wines.

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Patrick H.
Hi, I'm Chris Gifford.

And you're very welcome to The Allotment Wine Co.

When you wine from me, you're supporting a small Irish business which in turn supports small, sustainable wine producers, as well as other small, dedicated Irish wine importers.

When selecting wines, I look for partners who share a deep respect and connection with the land and its traditions, witnessed in a firm commitment to quality and sustainability. All of which makes for better wines.