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  • Elizabeth Bowman

Nyetimber - notes on a tasting

The Nyetimber Estate, Sussex

Recently we attended a Glasgow meetup of the Institute of Wines & Spirits (IWSS), which holds bi-monthly events in both central belt cities, where members & visitors taste & discuss a wide variety of wines - our speaker, Michael Bush, regional manager for Nyetimber, England’s top-rated sparkling wine, had visited before.

We enjoyed four lynchpins of the hugely respected & award-winning range, of which the Blanc de Blancs 2015 (£47) was our overall favourite, closely followed by their £99 Tillington single vineyard (both, as is the house style, aged lengthily on lees, so full of flavour).

The evening was a memorial to David Mair, past president of the club, but also included some very interesting background on the English sparkling wine industry.

Nyetimber itself was first mentioned as a Benedictine monastery in 1086 (that year is now immortalised as one of their flagship wine lines), with the building given to Anne of Cleves (one of the luckier wives) in a divorce settlement from Henry VIII, after the dissolution of the monasteries in the 15th C.

Fast forward 900 years from 1086 to the fledgling wine industry in 1986 and there were only 26 vineyards (using the same geological seam of chalk terroir as the French in Champagne) and Nyetimber was one of just a handful of operators.

Eric Heerema became the Owner and Custodian of Nyetimber in 2006. He spotted the market potential of the English sparkling wine category and recruited two winemakers:

"Married couple Cherie Spriggs and Brad Greatrix first joined Nyetimber as winemakers in 2007, after trying a bottle gifted to them by Cherie’s parents. They instantly recognised the promise of this early wine, and since 2007, Cherie and Brad have been integral to building Nyetimber into a sparkling wine producer that rivals the best in the world."

Today there are an amazing 900+ vineyards in operation over the wider English sparkling wine designated area, illustrating its exponential growth and economic importance in the wake of Brexit.

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