The Nyetimber Estate is located in the heart of West Sussex and has a long history, with the earliest records stemming back to 1086 (when it was known as 'Nitimbreha'). The first vines on the site were planted almost 900 years later in 1988. Sandy and Stewart Moss acquired the what was then farmland and set out to transform it to a commercial vineyard. They selected the Champagne varieties as the soils matched and the climate was not far off! The unique location of the vineyards in the South Downs offers shelter from the coastal wind and selective planting on only south facing slopes meant the grapes got sufficient sunlight to reach phenolic ripeness. 2001 saw Sandy & Stewart sell the vineyard to Andy Hill, an English songwriter and producer who most famously worked with Bucks Fizz (coincidence?).
The estate was acquired by its current owner, Eric Heerema in 2006. He expanded the estate to over 400 acres making it the largest estate in the UK to make wine entirely from its own fruit. Winemaker Cherie Spriggs joined in 2007 with extensive knowledge and passion, having studied at the Wine Research Centre in Vancouver and at Adelaide University. Cherie was nominated for the 'Sparkling Winemaker of the Year' Award at the International Wine Challenge Awards in 2016. The successes of Nyetimber which led to its now world renowned status began when they gained recognition at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, for the Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 1993. The Queen even chose to serve it for her 50th Wedding Anniversary. Over the next two decades they continued to gain momentum and arguably paved the way for the successes and popularity of English sparkling wine today. The 2015 CSWWC (Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships) awards marked a record 5th consecutive vintage to win an International Gold. This was the first time an English wine had achieved such a prestigious string of awards.
The Nyetimber range consists of five wines, with the Classic Cuvée being their flagship wine. Up until 2010 this was released as a vintage, though now it's a non-vintage blend of various years. This is to maintain consistency year after year, thereby creating a "house style". The Classic Cuvée spends a minimum of 36 months on lees (secondary fermentation), giving the wine great complexity and balance. The sparkling rosé is also a non-vintage using Pinot Noir wine made from their own vines to get that vibrant pink colour. The Pinot Noir that's used to make the rosé undergoes rigorous test to make sure its suitable for the blend. The winemaker must be able to smell the Pinot Noir while standing one metre away from the tasting glass in order for it to qualify for the final blend.
The Blanc de Blancs is a cuvée made from only the best Chardonnay grapes from the best years. The first vintage it was made in was 1992. It is always a vintage wine, with a longer secondary fermentation to provide more complexity and body. The Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs have won a number of awards and are praised for their aging potential. The Demi Sec is a semi sweet wine with around 40g of residual sugar per litre. The sweetness is nicely balanced with the naturally high acid of the cool climate wine. Notes of fresh elderflower, peaches and brioche lead to a luscious long finish. It is great with puddings or even as an aperitif.
Nyetimber's Tillingdon Estate is a single vineyard English sparkling wine from predominantly Pinot Noir grapes. The grapes from this site are of superior quality, and are used to make around 4000 bottles. Spending almost four years on the lees, this wine is complex, elegant and fresh. This wine takes English sparkling to a new level putting it in the same price bracket as prestige cuvée champagnes