Rathfinny Estate Harvest Diary: Food for Thought

When we visited Rathfinny in the summer, we were struck by the attention to detail Mark and Sarah Driver, Cameron and the whole team pay at each step of the growing process. Our latest visit, this time during harvest in late October showed us the fruits of that passion as the growing cycle comes full circle.

We were picking a particular clone of Pinot Noir, notable for its tight bunches, low disease incidence and expressive nature. At Rathfinny, they are growing several clones which are vinified separately, and which each add a little something different to the final blend.

The fruit was in an excellent condition. The steady through breeze up from the sea keeps disease pressure low, meaning the quality of the fruit is high and the wine can show real authenticity and sense of place.

As I considered the care and attention paid at each stage of the growing and winemaking processes, it got me thinking: why do we relegate the delicious product of such hard work to the pre-dinner slot? We seem tied to the idea that sparkling wine is more for toasting and less for tasting. In reality, top examples, like Rathfinny’s, are a sophisticated and natural accompaniment to food. After our work among the vines, we were treated to a beautiful lunch, which hit it home for me. Each course was paired with a sparkling wine, showing the versatility and affinity to food of each.

For me, there are the three main reasons why Rathfinny’s wines are made for pairing with food:

  • The bubbles in sparkling wines enhance the flavour of the food
  • The savoury notes from time spent in bottle before disgorgement and release make them wines a truly gourmand style
  • The zippy high acidity from the cool-climate growing conditions like those made in Sussex, refreshes your palate so that each mouthful of food tastes like the first

My challenge to you, therefore, is to try matching your next dinner to an English sparkling wine – if not a Sussex sparkling!

To find out more about Rathfinny or to organise your own visit, take a look at their website