For the last quarter-century, England has played a very special role in the world of wines – an exotic in moist and chilly northern Europe.
When you think of England you might think of umbrellas, charm, and bowler hats. Specifically umbrellas, since British weather is famously rainy. Few people know that winegrowing in England is historically documented back to the 7th century. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the climate is mild enough for certain types of grapes to grow and fully ripen. The change in climate during recent decades has brought some advantages to English winemakers, improving growth conditions and encouraging many to try their luck at winegrowing.
Nyetimber was founded as a winery in 1988. However, the estate is much older; it was first mentioned in the Domesday Book (a famous land registry) in 1086. Embedded in the peaceful green landscape of West Sussex, with its carefully restored medieval buildings and houses, Nyetimber is a small gem that can transfer us into a far distant era.
Nyetimber was the first winery in England to grow champagne grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, all with the aim of producing the best English sparkling wine through respecting the “méthode traditionnelle”. In the early 1990s, the first bottle left the winery and even beat some champagnes in various competitions.
The winegrowers Cherie Spriggs and her husband Brad Greatrix, both with international experience, have been responsible for all steps of the wine production since 2007. 170 hectares of grapes grow on eight different south-facing sites in Sussex and Hampshire on precious chalk soil similar to that found in the Champagne. Ever since the couple arrived at Nyetimber, they have worked to improve production processes. The inventory of reserve wines was and will be increased on a regular basis in order to create a non-vintage Classic Cuvée according to the Champagne model. At the other end of the production line is the Tillington Single Vineyard, the first English vintage sparkling wine from a single vineyard. A Rosé Non-Vintage and a Blanc de Blancs that will only be bottled during the best Chardonnay years, supplement this extraordinary sparkling wine experience.
Sparkling wines from Nyetimber
Sometimes life is full of surprises. The Lebanese Asseily family experienced this first-hand when they became the owners of Château Biac as if by accident in 2006. They regularly spent their summer holidays near Biac, but never would they have dreamt that they would own and manage this wonderful property themselves one day. It’s a fascinating story that Tony and Youmna Asseily are happy to share over a glass of their wine.
Soon after their arrival, the first Spanish colonists were already remarking the ideal vine growing conditions in Chile. In this country of great contrasts, embedded between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, the many wine regions differ significantly through micro-climate, topography and altitudes, and geological properties. TerraNoble owns vineyards in three different regions and so can provide different varieties with the most suitable growing conditions.
Peter Michael Estate
In the 1970s, Sir Peter Michael came to California as a young engineer and discovered the emerging wine world of California, with some excellent names already drawing international attention.