Since starting as Brand Ambassador for Rathfinny 6 months ago, I’ve been involved in arranging some memorable visits to the Estate. From Sommeliers, Executive Chefs to Restaurant Managers, all have been so positive about what we’re doing, and can’t wait to get their hands on our Sparkling when it’s released!
I don’t know about you, but Sommeliers always appear to me to be the most put-together people, impeccably poised without a hair out of place. What I love when I pick them up from Lewes Station for their visit, is that most choose to wear ripped jeans and hoodies, which they pull off in the chicest way, naturally. Given their schedules, I always find it flattering that they choose to spend a day or two of their elusive downtime with us at Rathfinny.
My impression is that for a London Sommelier, being in a peaceful Sussex setting, surrounded by acres of vines, kicking flint rocks over chalky terrain literally couldn’t be further away from the bustle of London life. Usually an experience like this would require a passport, not here though.
Each has such a passion for their subject, and it gives me a real kick to see it unbridled in our vineyard setting. We tend to show them around the Estate in Mark and Sarah’s four by four. I don’t advise a car that’s lower to the ground, I learnt that the hard way when mine became beached on one of the steeper field pathways, never again…
Once at the top of the escarpment, we look at the view across to Eastbourne, Brighton and the Cradle Valley, which is arched like the crest of a long-frozen wave on the skyline. The vineyards slant out onto the horizon, holding the secrets of the vintage ahead in their newly-formed buds.
After lunch, it’s time to blend the Rathfinny Estate Classic Cuvée (released in 2020) with our Winemaker, Jonathan. Twelve or so wine glasses are laid out against a backdrop of measuring cylinders, pipets, lab coats, machines that measure sugar levels and acidity. By this time, we’re all channelling our inner scientist, I know I am.
Jonathan then pours out a measure of each individual Pinot Noir clone; Germanic, Dijon and Champagne. Another glass contains Pinot Meunier, the next our Chardonnay. An hour and a half of pouring, slurping and analysing, our guests are in their element.
By the time I drive the group back to the station later that afternoon, the car is alive with discussions of the day just gone. It’s energising to hear their enthusiasm, exciting to have such a strong band of friends on board, and best of all, fantastic to know we can enlist them for picking duty in October!