Anne Krebiehl MW, winemag.com (Jan 2019)
About this WINE
For over twenty five years Nyetimber has had a single aim: to make the finest English sparkling wine, one to rival the very best in the world, including champagne.
A true pioneer, Nyetimber was the first producer of English sparkling wine to exclusively grow the three celebrated grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Each bottle of Nyetimber is made from one hundred percent estate-grown grapes.
1988, Nyetimber planted its first vines. In 1997 in a blind tasting Nyetimber's 1992 Blanc de Blancs caused a debate as to which area of France it came from. Nyetimber wines have since won rave-reviews and International medals and, have also won the admiration of members of the Royal Family and various Heads of State. Owner and Chief Executive Eric Heerema and winemaker Cherie Spriggs are committed to producing wines of exceptional quality.
Nyetimber Manor is mentioned in the Domesday Book and was once home to Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII. 1,000 years later it is producing one of the finest sparkling wines in the world.
Which grapes are included in the blend, and their proportion, is one of the key factors determining the style of most Champagnes. Three grapes are used - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.
26% of vineyards in Champagne are planted with Chardonnay and it performs best on the Côtes des Blancs and on the chalk slopes south of Epernay. It is relatively simple to grow, although it buds early and thus is susceptible to spring frosts. It produces lighter, fresher wines than those from Burgundy and gives finesse, fruit and elegance to the final blend. It is the sole grape in Blancs de Blancs, which are some of the richest long-lived Champagnes produced.
Pinot Noir accounts for nearly 40% of the plantings in Champagne and lies at the heart of most blends - it gives Champagne its body, structure, strength and grip. It is planted across Champagne and particularly so in the southern Aube district.
The final component is Pinot Meunier and this constitutes nearly 35% of the plantings. Its durability and resistance to spring frosts make the Marne Valley, a notorious frost pocket, its natural home. It ripens well in poor years and produces a soft, fruity style of wine that is ideal for blending with the more assertive flavours of Pinot Noir. Producers allege that Pinot Meunier lacks ageing potential, but this does not deter Krug from including around 15% of it in their final blends.