Rathfinny Wine Estate

First ‘Sussex’ wine approved

I’m delighted to announce that our 2016 Cradle Valley Pinot Blanc : Pinot Gris has been passed as a ‘Sussex’ wine under the new PDO scheme now going through the European Commission in Brussels.

The new PDO scheme stipulates that the grapes have to come from Sussex and the wine has to be made in Sussex, so ensuring ‘provenance’. However, more importantly, it means the wine has gone through an independent analytical test to ensure its quality and that there are no faults. This looks at levels of acidity, volatile acidity (acetic acid), total sulphur dioxide and tests for the wine’s stability, both heat (so it doesn’t get cloudy) and cold (so crystals don’t form when it’s in the fridge). The wine then goes through an organoleptic test which is essentially a taste test.

Each ‘Sussex’ wine is tasted by an independent panel who carry out a qualitative assessment of each wine and it’s graded according to its:

  • Clarity and colour – it must be clear and bright.
  • Nose or bouquet – it must be free of any faults but also be typical of the grape variety.
  • Palate – tasting for the balance of the wine and checking for quality.

Every ‘Sussex’ wine must score a minimum of 12 out of 20 to pass. This we believe will ensure ‘quality’ and means the customers who buy ‘Sussex’ wine know that it is good quality wine.

So how’s our wine – it’s alright…


In fact it’s a delightful wine – 2016 was great year for ripening grapes. We had that long hot Indian summer and we produced a wine with 12% natural alcohol. It’s a blend of 50% Pinot Blanc and 50% Pinot Gris. All the grapes came from the Rathfinny Estate and were hand picked and whole bunch pressed. The long summer ripening and whole bunch pressing led to a concentration of flavours in the wine. It has a wonderful subtle bouquet of citrus, peach and honey, with delicate floral notes and a hint of spice. It’s a finely balance wine, slightly creamy with a lovely clean, crisp dry finish. Perfect with aromatic Asian flavours, chicken in creamy sauces, and most seafood. Or just enjoy it on its own.

So now I’ve whetted your appetite, you can taste and buy our Cradle Valley wine at the Gun Room in Alfriston.

Enjoy …



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