Rathfinny Estate launched their Sussex sparkling wines this week to the great and the good (and me) at Somerset House and it was a triumph to behold.

On March 31st 2012 a whole crowd of family and friends planted the first vines at Rathfinny Estate in Alfriston, East Sussex and ate burgers in the old barn. It takes a massive visionary to go from there to where the Rathfinny vineyard is now and Mark and Sarah Driver have achieved great things in that time. I am so proud of my great friends, who have proved that they are a force to be reckoned with as they enter this market with an ambitious explosion.

They have gone from this:-

2012 planting first vines at Rathfinny

2012 planting first vines at Rathfinny

Planting first vines at Rathfinny

Planting first vines at Rathfinny

Planting first vines at Rathfinny

Planting first vines at Rathfinny

Rathfinny in 2012

Rathfinny in 2012

To this, in the last six years:-

Rathfinny launch at Somerset House

Rathfinny launch at Somerset House

They launched their Sussex Sparkling at a suitably sparkling event, held at Somerset House, on Tuesday evening for the much anticipated first sparkling wines from Rathfinny Estate and judging by the response, Mark Driver is understandably confident “that they will both surprise and excite the national and international wine trade.”

RATHFINNY WINE ESTATE BLANC DE BLANCS 2014

We got to taste them both (all night) and I loved them both – although perhaps the rosé a little bit more. Both the Blanc de Blancs 2014 and the Rathfinny Rosé 2015 are low in sugar at Dosage 4 g/litre and 2.5g/l respectively which has created a dry, delicate flavour in both.

The Blanc de Blancs is the first vintage of their sparkling wine produced from 100% Chardonnay grapes and it delivers creamy apricot and acacia notes on the nose (I copied that bit), but for me it was delicious – clean crisp delicate fruit. Acid not obvious at all. The label, by the way, replicates the line of the Seven Sister’s cliffs:-

Rathfinny sparkling Blanc de Blanc

Rathfinny sparkling Blanc de Blanc

RATHFINNY WINE ESTATE ROSÉ

This beautifully pale pink colour with faint hints of strawberry is made up of 50% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier:-

Rathfinny sparkling Rosé

Rathfinny sparkling Rosé

My favourite:-

Rathfinny Sparkling rosé

Rathfinny Sparkling rosé

Selling through Gonzalez Byass, the wines will now be available, by the glass, at the Savoy Hotel for the month of May with their afternoon teas to celebrate the Royal wedding. Wouldn’t it be great if Harry and Meghan do become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex! They will virtually have their own private label. The wines will also be available at various restaurants across London and Sussex – but more on that later….the bottles will retail at around £35.00 each.

Mark and Sarah welcomed us all in their usual humorous and understated way, thanking their team, with Mark noting that “success comes from “commitment, loyalty and pride” and that they couldn’t have done it without everyone working together:-

Sarah & Mark Driver at Rathfinny launch

Sarah & Mark Driver at Rathfinny launch

Their team:-

Rathfinny team

Rathfinny team

Their family:-

Driver family

Driver family

Me and Sarah (we have known each other now for 43 years, having grown up in Hong Kong together)- photograph clearly not taken by the professional photographer!:-

Me and sarah

Me and sarah

The triumph of the night:-

Rathfinny launch at Somerset House

Rathfinny launch at Somerset House

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