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Saturday 17 December 2022

English sparkling wine takes on the traditional stars

English folk drinking Australian wine? Sure.

Australian consumers choosing English wine? Unthinkable until recent times.

While the UK is a major consumer of wine, it has always been considered a minor producer.

Too cold, too wet, too windy.

But the times they are a changing and leading UK sparkling wine producer Nyetimber is having a serious crack at selling its wines Down Under, having recently linked up with leading distributor Deja Vu.

Wine production in the UK is surging due to warmer summers and new technology, with sparkling wines from southern counties including Sussex, Essex, Kent and Hampshire getting some rave reviews.

Nyetimber is regarded as the leading producer of English sparkling wine - with a growing international presence.

The first Nyetimber sparkling wine, the 1992 Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs, was launched in the mid-1990s.

"Our vineyards share similar characteristics with the best sparkling wine vineyards in the world," says Nyetimber chief executive Eric Heerema, who purchased the business in 2006.

"Greensand and chalk soils allow our vines, in each of our separate sites, to flourish across the south of England. The climate here allows for the slow ripening of our grapes, allowing us to achieve the optimum levels of ripeness and acidity, as well as the complexity and finesse for which our exquisite wines are renowned."

Nyetimber uses only estate-grown fruit and the wines are made by head winemaker Cherie Spriggs, and her winemaker husband Brad Greatrix.

All the wines at Nyetimber are made using the traditional method (as in Champagne and Tasmania), ageing them for extended periods of time to build complexity and flavour.

The first vines were planted in 1988; chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier.

The estate vines spread across several separate sites in Sussex, Hampshire and Kent and Nyetimber has its own pressing centre and winery.

The non-vintage Nyetimber Classic Cuvee is now on sale across many Australian retail outlets for around $85 per bottle. 

My verdict:. Very pale, very fresh, very clean with a nice mousse and plenty of length. 

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