The quality of last year’s harvest was fantastic: A perfect balance of flavours, sugar levels and acidity. The wines were a bit “difficult” to work with, for example, the malolactic fermentation has taken longer than usual. However, at last it has now been completed through all the lots, and whilst we get the wines ready for bottling by fining and stabilising the wines, we have also started to work on the blends. It’s a very exciting moment in the year of a winemaker.
As the opening image illustrates, winter is slowly moving into spring. The vines have finished their work for the time being and now receive their annual hair cut and my Estate vehicle requires the adornment of the obligatory bobble hat.
After we’ve taken the first pressing, the Cuvée, which is high in sugars and acids and comes from the pulp of the grapes and the second pressing, or the Taille, which is much richer but can be lower in acidity and sugars, you’re then left with the third pressing (the Rebêche), when you turn up the pressure and squeeze out the juice left in the grapes nearest to the skin and the grape pips.
The Rebêche is much coarser than the Taille and I have to admit that for the last three years I thought Jonathan was saying “that’s the rubbish”! Anyway, back to the point – what do you do with the Rebêche?
Well this year Rathfinny sent it off to be distilled. We spoke to a friendly gin distillery near Guildford and they’ve blended our grape spirit with a grain spirit. We chose nine botanicals and we’ve made what we feel is a great ‘classic’ gin.
We’ve called it ‘Seven Sisters Gin’ after the magnificent chalk cliffs that border the English Channel between Eastbourne and Seaford that mark the beginning of the South Downs. Do get to try it soon. It’s rather special but we’ve only got a few bottles to sell, so be quick! Before long, we hope you’ll be able to enjoy a “Sisters and Tonic” or a “Sisters on Ice” at your local pub, club or restaurant. Or of course you can buy it directly from the Gun Room and mix it yourself. Cheers!
Available to buy from the Gun Room from the 7th March.