Rathfinny, 2019 Blanc de Noirs, Brut


If you have any interest in quality sparkling wine, you just have to try this.

It is of the moment, yet timeless; scintillating, yes approachable. This combines huge potential with already existing searing quality.

It is the single vintage sparkling white made exclusively from the estate's hand-picked red grapes: 81% Pinot Noir and 19% Pinot Meunier. Lees aged for 36 months, this is a serious wine made for a celebration of vineyard, place, climate and style: if you want fine wine and bubbles, this is a very, very compelling choice. It's absolutely outstanding and will, without doubt, develop incredibly with further bottle age.

Sour plum and greengage, Yuzu notes develop to cashew, red apples and a long, zesty, saline, plum finish.

The gorgeous colour lifts notes of red apple and citrus, leading to lemon meringue and lime zest on the palate, which finishes with bright mouthwatering notes of red currant and Braeburn apples. It's a long and juicy, and sweet-fruit finish, dry as a Brut-bone, but utterly charming and really, really delicious!

This is a stunning wine 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).

This adds to the story and the possibility that Rathfinny sets out to achieve - that Sussex becomes a reference point as much as Champagne. And that each wine is a vintage-dated bottling. It's a serious ambition, but the generosity with which they approach the industry is nothing short of inspirational. It's about knowledge and experience sharing and a search for the best quality that the region can collectively promote.

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...

“Appealing gold colour with fine bubbles. The nose is charming and attractive. Lots of red fruits going on, from strawberry, raspberry and redcurrants to cherry Griotte. The wine shows a stony minerality. The palate is really refreshing, with a sharp and clean acidity but as well a certain roundness in the mouth. A glass calls another!” Remi Cousin, Sommelier, Le Gavroche (before it closed, alas...)

“Big bubbles! A smoky and smouldering nose, a weighty and smouldering wine. Voluminous. Oranges, lime and stone. Beautifully ripe acidity sculpted into a curve. Rathfinny know how to deliver broad power with a burnish of magnificence.” 17 points. Tamlyn Currin, JancisRobinson.com

Country: England

Grape(s): Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier

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.

Delivery & Returns

You'll get free delivery when you buy 12 x 75cl bottles of wine online from The Allotment, saving you €7.99.

We charge €7.99 per delivery for quantities less than that.

Our hours for processing orders are between 9am - 6pm Monday to Friday.

We pack your online wine order along the following timelines:

Wine orders for delivery in Dublin, received before 12pm on weekdays are prepared so that delivery should be expected the next working day.

Wine orders for nationwide delivery, received by 12pm on weekdays are prepared so that delivery should be expected two working days later.

Customer reviews

Great choice and excellent service. Received my delivery the next day.
Paul H.
Amazing service from the get go!
I emailed Chris looking for wine recommendations for a birthday gift. Got a really speedy, helpful reply and not only that but he hand delivered it on time to the birthday girl wishing her a happy birthday. Absolutely bowled over by the service. Cannot recommend highly enough.
Michelle McM.
Could not recommend The Allotment enough. The selection is fantastic and each wine that I've drank from them has been utterly phenomenal. Delivery was no hassle and I had the wine at my door in 2 days. Couldn't have asked for a better experience.
Luke B.
Good range of interesting wines. Good personal attention to their orders. Very customer focused. I would be happy to recommend this company to any prospective customer.
Jim D.
A great experience ordering from The Allotment Wine Company. A wide variety of wines to try something new and at good prices with super quick delivery! Really convenient too as opposed to trying to find parking!
N. Dowling
Delicious and interesting range of wines delivered promptly to my door. Not far off that lovely feeling of coming back laden from a good wine store but without any of the traffic or the worry of breaking the wine en route (very impressive travel wrap).
M. Dorman
Chris fields a fine range of excellent, keenly-priced wines. Orders are safely packaged and dispatched efficiently and promptly. Strongly recommended.
David M.
Great selection of wines, hassle free ordering, payment and delivery. Highly recommended.
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.