Winemaking in England

It is no secret we make excellent sparkling wines in England. Over the past 50 years, Vineyards have popped up across the land and in 2019, sparkling wine made up 72% of production. But it’s the Southern counties like Kent and Sussex that are really leading the way with more than 50 vineyards and 20 wineries in Sussex alone. Just like any good winemaking region in the world, English wine tourism now offers excellent restaurants, accommodation and tour experiences. In Sussex – where Rathfinny is based – travel and wine writers are starting to call our beautiful wine estates ‘the winelands of Sussex!’

Indeed, our Sussex location is integral to everything we do at Rathfinny, so much so we have been petitioning for a Sussex PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) for several years now and we’e confident approval will be guaranteed imminently. A Sussex PDO would assure consumers that Sussex Sparkling is a mark of quality. Just like Champagne, Bordeaux and Rioja, these geographical boundaries are known the world-over for their quality assurance as each wine must meet a certain level of criteria.

Rathfinny Vineyard Picnics
Summer at Rathfinny Wine Estate

What is English Sparkling Rosé?

An English Sparkling Rosé, crafted by Rathfinny contains the three main grape varieties used to make traditional sparkling wine: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.

Rathfinny’s Sparkling Rosé is made using the Traditional Method, whereby when the wine is bottled, a little yeast and sugar are added and a secondary fermentation takes place inside the bottle, to produce the bubbles. The wine is then aged in the bottle for a minimum of 24 months. This is a slightly shorter ageing process than our other wines because we want to retain those beautiful red fruits characteristics which open up generously on the palette. Our low-intervention methods create a sparkling Rosé that is a true expression of our terroir in the South Downs of England.

As more of us seek to buy locally-sourced products that can be traced back to British producers, English Sparkling Rosé has grown in popularity and is now served as the perfect accompaniment to an English Afternoon Tea in many leading restaurants and hotels. Southern England is also well known for growing summer fruits like strawberries, cherries and red apples – all of which influence the flavours in our Pinot Noir grapes.

To date, we have released four vintage sparkling Rosé’s, all of which have received incredible reviews from the wine critics. Sunday Telegraph wine writer, Susy Atkins called our 2017 vintage a ‘Star Buy’, describing it as ‘Ravishing’ and noting the ‘medium-bright cerise with redcurrant and pearfruit, ripe but fresh, with a white pepper twist.’ Atkins was equally as complimentary about the 2018 vintage in an article for Stella Magazine, stating our ‘English sparklers rank among the best’ and this vintage is ‘subtle and complex.’ High praise indeed.

Sussex Sparkling at Ham Yard Hotel
Rathfinny Rosé at Ham Yard Hotel

Sparkling Rosé Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

We will always endeavour to create a delicious sparkling Rosé from each year’s harvest if we are satisfied with the quality. All Rathfinny sparkling wines are brut in style, with a low added sugar content thanks to the incredible fruit characteristics of the grapes that are grown on our East Sussex Vineyard.

It’s a common misconception that Rosé is a sweet drink, intended solely for hot summer days. Although ’s perfect for sunny bank holiday BBQs, garden parties and afternoon teas, our English Sparkling Rosé can stand up to Asian spices – as much as our Blanc de Noirs – and a host of cheeses such as feta, camembert and brie. Rathfinny Rosé contains less than 6 g/l of sugar so it’s all about the clean fruit, balanced acidity and salinity. Discover the tasting notes and food pairing suggestions from our portfolio of Rosé vintages:

2018 Vintage

Pale pink in colour, this sparkling Rosé offers a nose of peaches and oranges in a creamy combination. On the palate, there are playful notes of strawberry coulis and candied mandarin zest that leads to a delicate hint of white pepper and satsuma sherbet.

From salmon sashimi to red berry winter roulade, the 2018 is a versatile food matcher. Read our recipe for Vanilla Panna Cotta here.

“Despite just 24 months on lees, the fruit shines and has backbone while the wine has texture and poise with a wonderfully low dosage of 5.3g/l that the estate has made its hallmark.” Anne Krebiehl MW, Falstaff

Rose 2018 Roulade Table Setting
2018 Rosé &

Red Berry Roulade

Panna Cotta with 2018 Rose
2018 Rosé &

Vanilla Panna Cotta

2017 Vintage

The 2017 vintage of our sparkling Rosé developed an impressive structure and expressive nature, rendering it particularly favourable as an Asian-style savoury dish matcher.

“This is a foody number and it is brave enough and opinionated enough to launch itself at whatever dish you fancy and I venture it will come up smiling, too, such is the character and persistence of this strident rosé.” Matthew Jukes,

Baked Lemon Cheesecake
2017 Rosé &

Baked Lemon Cheesecake with English Strawberries

Served in The Drawing Room at The Kensington

Tiger Prawns
2017 Rosé &

Grilled Tiger Prawns with a Mango, Chilli and Lime Relish

Served at 108 Brasserie in Marylebone, London

Food and Wine Pairing
2017 Rosé &

Confit Duck

Available from Field&Flower

Refuel Terrace Sparkling Rose Pairing
2017 Rosé &

Mangalitsa Ham

Served in The Refuel Bar and Restaurant at the Soho Hotel

2016 Vintage

Vivid coral in hue, the 2016 Rathfinny Rosé had a lifted nose of wild strawberries and mandarin zest, giving way to a rich mousse of Rainier cherries and candied red apple skin, and a silky, strawberry shortcake finish.

“Made from 66% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay and 14% Pinot Meunier, this has a pretty, pale rose petal, pink hue. Tart redcurrant notions appear in that delicate, tender frame of very well integrated freshness. This is all about lightness, slenderness and ease, even though there is nothing facile about it. Lovely.” Anne Krebiehl, The Buyer

Rathfinny Rosé and burrata
2016 Rosé &

Sussex Beetroot Burrata

Served at The Tasting Room at Rathfinny Wine Estate

Rathfinny Rose at Le Gavroche
2016 Rosé &

Apple Tartlet

Served at Le Gavroche

2015 Vintage

The first vintage of our sparkling Rosé was launched in 2018 and served exclusively at The Savoy with their afternoon tea, which was a ground-breaking moment for English Wine as Champagne had historically been served for decades.

Light-coral in hue, Rathfinny Rosé 2015 has a nose of Chantilly cream-drizzled strawberries, a delicate palate with great structural minerality, an enticingly full mousse and a long, elegant peachy finish.

White Chocolate Summer Berry Opera Cake
2015 Rosé &

White Chocolate and Summer Berry Opera Cake

Served at our launch at Somerset House

Summer Berry Pavlova Dine in the Vines
2015 Rosé &

Summer Berry Pavlova

Served at our Dine in the Vines experience at the Rathfinny Estate.

Sparkling Rose Picnic
Rosé & Rathfinny Summer Vineyard Picnic
The Berkeley Seafood Bowl and Sparkling Rose
Rosé & Spicy Seafood at The Berkeley Beach Huts
The Feathered Nest Afternoon Tea
Rosé & Afternoon Tea at The Feathered Nest

Where to buy Rathfinny English Sparkling Rosé

Rathfinny Sussex Sparkling wines can be purchased in selected independent wine merchants and premium hotels, bars and restaurants across the UK. You can use our online map tool to find a stockist near you or shop directly from the Rathfinny online shop. We currently offer cases, single bottles, optional gift boxes and spectacular magnums.

Rathfinny Winemaking Philosophy

At Rathfinny we are dedicated to producing Traditional Method, vintage sparkling wines. We believe every vintage produces a unique wine that encapsulates the spirit of the year in which the grapes were grown. We are a single-estate producer which means we grow and hand-harvest all of our grapes that are used in our wines from our 230-acre Vineyard in East Sussex. This is unique as many winemakers often purchase grapes from various vineyards across different counties. By maintaining our own vineyard with a dedicated team of local workers, we can ensure the highest quality standards, from pruning to picking.

Rathfinny is a Pinot Noir-dominant house. Serendipity would have it that Rathfinny Co-owner, Mark Driver, dreamed of growing high quality Pinot Noir grapes to create an outstanding Blanc de Noirs and Rosé. Eleven years later, we’ve planted 167,000 pinot noir vines from 11 different clones originating from Burgundy, Champagne, Germany and Switzerland. What’s more, our wines are now being served in top restaurants across the UK and overseas.

Next time you’re dining out or visiting a bottle shop, why not ask for a delicious bottle of Sussex Rosé?


Discover the Rathfinny English Sparkling Wine Portfolio