2019 has been one of those years where it all looked like everything was going to be great and easy and then the weather had other ideas right at the last minute.
The season was generally ok, nothing like 2018 but a fairly good one for the UK with above average temperatures for most of the year. Then it all suddenly turned in September, bringing us the first wet and at times challenging harvest in the history of Rathfinny.
Harvest at Rathfinny is expected to start next week, on or about 9th October. So far, we have had over 400 people sign up directly via our website and have over 20 people booked to stay on-site at the Flint Barns, from as far afield as Abu Dhabi and Alberta, Canada.
As Cameron said recently “We must be doing something right!”. I believe we’re treating people well, with reasonable
We often talk about sustainability here at Rathfinny, and that takes many forms from repurposing our menu’s in the restaurant for scrap paper to the introduction of paper rather than plastic spray guards around the young vines. One thing we haven’t really touched on is bird control.
On Friday 21st June, I travelled out of my jurisdiction up to the wonderful city of Leeds.
Rathfinny were invited to show our recently launched 2015 Blanc de Noirs and our 2016 Rosé sparkling wines by Harvey Nichols. Not an invite to turn down. It was with much excitement that I boarded the choo choo as I knew this was a great opportunity to show case our current wines to a new audience.
It’s been another busy week at Rathfinny. We took delivery of three new 58,000-litre blending tanks (each double the size of a petrol tanker), a further four new fermentation tanks, and two bottling tanks, ready for harvest this year and bottling next month.
They look rather nice now, in situ, but it was a slight shock when they arrived and we hoped that we’d measured the width of the entrance correctly! Jonathan Médard our winemaker was sweating a little more than the others, but they just squeezed in with an inch (2.5cms) to spare on either side… A perfectly designed winery. Well done to all concerned.
It’s my usual springtime blog post. Complaining about the weather and musing about planting.
To be fair we’ve had quite a good run weather wise. Mid-20’s Celcius at the end of April is fine by me, it’d just be nice if it stayed for longer than a couple of days. It’s just the wind this past weekend, can we please have less of that? The planting team looked like they’d been sandblasted!
We’re delighted and a little excited to announce that our new wines, a Blanc de Noirs from 2015 and our Rosé 2016 will be launched to the trade at an event at the fabulous Ritz hotel next Wednesday 1st May and will go on general sale through our UK agent Gonzalez Byass (UK) from 1st June.
These wines, together with our 2014 Blanc de Blancs, will be available by the glass throughout the Ritz hotel for the month
We’re trying to be as ‘sustainable’ as we can. We’ve adopted various practices across the estate to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce our impact on the natural environment, and Decanter magazine reported our ambition to be one of ‘the greenest’ wine producers in the world. But what do we mean by sustainable and what can you do to be environmentally sensitive when consuming wine?
We are so proud of our young chef, Charlie, who at just 21 has been nominated as one of three Grand Finalists in the Sussex Young Chef of the Year award. I spent some time with him understanding just how much work he had put in, in creating his spring menu for the Master Chef style competition, where he really wanted to showcase Sussex produce. Just reading his menu makes me hungry!
On Friday 8th March I hosted International Women’s Day at the Tasting Room Restaurant and I was delighted (relieved!) to see that we had sold out. There was the fear of being ‘Norma No Mate’s’ on the day. Delicious food from our Michelin starred chef, Chris Bailey, as usual. If you haven’t been for lunch yet, served Wednesdays to Sundays, or to our tasting menu on Fridays and Saturdays, you’re missing out!
We asked Mark & Marcin, our Flint Barns chefs, their ingredient of the month for February…
Why rhubarb? Forced New Seasons Rhubarb is just coming into season and is a real treat at this time of the year. It is the first British fruit of the year and is tender with a beautiful pink colour and delicate flavour.
Where do you source it from? Forced New Seasons Rhubarb is traditionally sourced from the “Yorkshire Triangle” using traditional harvesting methods.
Last week, I was prepping for a staff training at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, doing a dry run in front of the mirror, as one does. It wasn’t just an excuse for some ‘mirror-time’, I do it because it pays to be polished as these prestigious restaurants have huge sommelier teams, all with varying levels of knowledge.
We have avoided getting involved in the whole Brexit debate as we have various opinions here at Rathfinny, probably echoing the rest of the country, and lately, it’s become quite a polarising issue. Group polarisation, discussed by Daniel Finkelstein in The Times last week, has taken over with each side holding more and more extreme views. However, we run a new and expanding English wine business and, as we move ever closer to the 29th March, I thought that I should share the concerns we have of exiting the EU without a deal. But, before you all start shouting at your screen, let me say that I’m not trying to make a political statement, what I’m trying to explain with this blog are the very real, practical issues that we may face in a no-
An early start on Monday was required to catch the train to the beautiful city of York to present our wines to a fantastic group of restaurants from all points North.
Our gathering was hosted by Yorkshire Vintners, our regional distributor, and Gonzalez Byass(UK), our national distributor, at the fabulous Roots restaurant in the heart of York. Tommy Banks’ (he of Great British Menu fame) food was spectacular and the reception to our wines was very pleasing.