After eight years of planning, planting, winemaking and ageing, Rathfinny Wine Estate finally launched its first Sussex Sparkling wines at Somerset House, London, on 24 April 2018.

The estate’s 2014, Blanc de Blancs and 2015, Rosé Brut, which conform to new Sussex Quality Wine PDO guidelines, will be exclusively available, by the glass with afternoon tea, at the Savoy Hotel, London throughout the month of May to celebrate the Royal wedding. The wines will be officially released to targeted premium on-trade and independent off-trade accounts on 1 June 2018.

The 2014, Blanc de Blancs, produced from 100% Chardonnay has been aged for thirty-six months on the lees, with aromas of peach on the nose and a delicate citrus-fresh palate. The 2015, Rathfinny Rosé has a light-coral tone, a nose of strawberries and a long, peachy finish.

“It’s just fantastic to be able to share our first sparkling wines with everyone,” said Mark Driver, who established Rathfinny Wine Estate with wife Sarah in 2010 on the site of a working arable farm just outside Alfriston, East Sussex. “The wines are a superb reflection of our fantastic terroir. We want to thank everyone who has worked so hard over the last eight years to get us to this point. It’s been worth it.”

On a mission to produce Sussex sparkling wines to ‘rival the best traditional method sparkling wines in the world’, Mark and Sarah appointed French winemaker Jonathan Médard from Épernay in 2013 to oversee the development of the winery and create the first Sussex sparkling wines.

A plan for international export will see Rathfinny selling up to 50% of its production to key overseas markets within Europe, Asia and North America immediately upon release.