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Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The Nyetimber estate counts three major landmarks in its history. Its earliest beginnings saw it first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. Then there was the planting of the first vines, almost exactly 900 years later. Most recently, there was the decision in 2006 that Nyetimber wines deserved an audience on the world stage.
Nyetimber is in the fortunate position to own one hundred percent of their vineyards and all of the wines are produced from the 170 hectares they have planted at the best sites in West Sussex and Hampshire. Nyetimber’s vineyards were the first to be devoted exclusively to the holy trinity of Champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir.
A millennium might have passed since their name was coined as 'Nitimbreha', likely referring to a newly timbered house or perhaps a small timber plantation. But the most significant developments for this House have taken place in a single decade with their winemaking team among the most proficient in the world.
Southern England is perfect for the production of sparkling wine. The chalk seam that supplies Champagne grapes with the perfect green sand and chalky soil to flourish is the very same that runs under the lee of the South Downs. This is where, sheltered from the coastal winds, our vines are planted across eight separate sites.
The climate here allows for the slow ripening of the grapes, allowing Nyetimber to achieve the optimum level of acidity for the wine, as well as the complexity and finesse that they strive for.
Unlike most other Houses, Nyetimber uses only their own grapes from their own vineyards. Prior to harvest, the grapes are tasted to ensure the best flavor development before picking. And if they aren’t up to standard? They simply won’t use them.
Nyetimber's winemaker, Cherie Spriggs, is central to every decision that gets made. She assesses each and every handpicked vineyard individually. This means choosing the optimal time to harvest the grapes, and supervising their gentle pressing and eventual vinification in stainless steel tanks. This level of intimacy allows them to make the most informed blending decisions the following spring.
Nyetimber crafts all of their wines according to the traditional method, aging them for extended periods of time and giving the bottles sufficient post-disgorgement time before release. Since each and every decision along the way has an impact on the eventual flavor of the wines, they are careful to do everything themselves, in the way they believe it should be done.
The limestone soils of England’s southern end have proven ideal for the production of sparkling wine. While it might seem too damp and cold for grape growing, recent warm summers and the onset of global warming signify great future growth for the British wine industry.
A term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.