A terrific slightly pink sparkler from Sussex

2015 Rathfinny The terrific, pale hue of this utterly delicious Sussex sparkler catches you unawares


2015 Rathfinny, Blanc de Noirs Brut, Sussex, England£35.95, reduced to £33.50 each for 12 bottles, Lea & Sandeman, 020-7244 0522,

This wine is made from 65% pinot noir grapes and 35% pinot meunier, making it a fascinating "white from red" tipple even my fading eyesight can spot that there is a lot of red fruit in this sparkler because it is ever so slightly pink. This terrific, pale hue catches you unawares and then you are hit with the double-whammy of a haunting cherry-skin nose and a silky, hedgerow-kissed palate, which confounds the senses.

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What is going on here? I can tell you that, although this wine seems to be intentionally playing tricks with your mind, it is also utterly delicious and drinking perfectly already.

And just in case you were tempted to think that this must be just a one-off, then try the 2016 Sparkling Ros Brut (£33.95, reduced to £31.75 each, case price). It has a steely 20% chardonnay in its mix and, while this wine is genuinely ros in colour, the palate is stern and linear, and the mouth-watering, percussive acidity drags the palate out to a staggeringly long finish.

This wine needs age and it is shaped like a mighty white sparkler, whereas the "white" is forward and flattering. Confused? You will be, but what a wonderful way to lose yourself in two brilliant newly released wines. The "difficult second album syndrome" was never a problem for Rathfinny. These two wines are a step up on their inaugural releases and I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (




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