Nyetimber brut Blanc de Blancs
Sussex, English Sparkling Wine, 2009
Pale gold in colour with tiny, delicate bubbles. Floral and lime aromas lead on to rich notes of pastry and brioche. On the palate, fresh citrus flavours are balanced with an underlying minerality and a toasty intensity. Very fine and elegant with a long, complex finish.
|Origin:||United Kingdom / West Sussex|
|Maturity:||10 to 12 years|
|Serving temperature:||10 to 12 °C|
|Vinification:||bottle fermentation, fermentation in steel tank|
|Harvest:||hand-picking, in small boxes|
|Maturation:||on the yeast, long cultivation|
|Maturation duration:||60 months|
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.
King or beggar?
Hardly any variety of vine shows such a broad spectrum of quality as the Chardonnay. Its wines range from faceless neutrality to breath-taking class. It is an extremely low-maintenance vine, which explains why it is grown around the world – even in places where it probably should not be. The aromas of the Chardonnay variety are not very pronounced: a bit of green apple, a little hazelnut; in warmer latitudes, also melon and exotic fruits. The wines are often defined by maturing in casks. They develop more or less subtle notes of butter, toasted bread and vanilla. The grapes achieve their highest expression in their region of origin, Burgundy. Its heart beats in the Côte de Beaune: one might think of the plant growth of Meursault or Puligny-Montrachet. With their finesse and complexity, they can survive for decades. Chardonnay also achieves first class in some Blanc-de-Blancs champagnes. It additionally yields great wines in the Burgundian Chablis, and increasingly in Australia and Chile. A simple rule of thumb for pairing with food: When butter and cream are involved, you cannot go wrong with Chardonnay.