Rathfinny Wine Estate

Vendange and all that..

oct15_6_largeWe’re holding a ‘Village Vendange’ on Wednesday 26th October…

When I said this to Sarah she said “We can’t call it Vendange. It’s a village picking day”.

So that’s how it’s been publicised in the local Alfriston village shop and on the local village website. All welcome just let us know if you’re coming because in exchange for your labour we’re going to provide you with a lovely lunch!!

We decided a long time ago that as an English wine producer we should avoid, where possible, to use French words. We will only use the French words when an English equivalent is not available, or when the French word is the universally accepted descriptor.So here are a few examples of wonderful French words that we have no English equivalent for, and I’m sure you can think of others – any suggested English alternatives much appreciated:

Vendange – French for grape harvest or the vintage. Such a wonderful evocative word, so many people ask me. “So when are you starting your Vendange?”

Terroir – the definition is so much more than just soil. It’s really the whole environment that affects our grapes and the way they are grown: The soil, the climate, the sun shine hours, the aspect, the trellising system used and even the way they are looked after.  A wonderful French word.

Blanc de Blanc and Blanc de Noir – A white wine made from green grapes and white wine made from black/red grapes respectively. Blanc de Blanc is typically made from Chardonnay but can include Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, whilst Blanc de Noir is typically made from Pinot Noir and Meunier.

Bâttonage – Lees stirring. The process where a wine maker stirs the yeast lees, thus optimising surface contact of lees with the wine and to encourage the absorption of oxygen within a wine during or post fermentation, to prevent ‘reduction’, or the production of stinky compounds and off smells. Oh, and the “bâton” is a wooden stick, we now use stainless steel ones. What a great word.  Sounds better than ’lees stirring’ doesn’t it?

Assemblage – the art of blending different base wines together to produce the final blend. The last two years have been relatively easy for us because our production has been limited, but this year it will be more challenging and exciting.

Brut – referring to the sweetness of sparkling wine. A Brut wine has between 6-12grams per litre of residual sugar. It’s considered dry. As a comparison an ‘Extra-Dry’ wine will have between 12-17 grams of sugar per litre and ‘Dry’ (Sec) has between 17-32 grams per litre. ‘Demi-Sec’ has 32-50 grams per litre. Yes, I know – it makes no sense!  French for you!  However, the current trend is towards ‘Extra-Brut’, less than 6 grams per litre or Brut Natural or Zero Dosage or ‘skinny’ fizz with zero added sugar.

Cuvée – is derived from the French word cuve ,which means a vat or tank. Cuvée in sparkling wine production is taken to mean the first pressing and it is often blended with other ‘cuvées’. When you first press grapes you apply a small amount of pressure and the ‘first press’ is considered as the premium juice, the ‘cuvée’.

So if you’d like to and join us on the 26th October for Vendange please send an email to events@rathfinnyestate.com

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