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A few weeks ago, during a conversation with Wes, the owner of Cork Wine Bar in Adelaide, Australia, I mentioned that I would be spending some time in England and he insisted that I visit Nyetimber Winery to try their sparkling wine.  Nyetimber, located in West Sussex, United Kingdom, means timbered house.

He even wrote the following on the server’s notepad…

Nyetimber NoteHmm… that’s a strong recommendation and prediction from a guy that lived and worked in the wine trade for 8 years in London.  I will admit that I had my doubts about any fermented grape juice from the United Kingdom.  I smiled, took his sheet of paper and said I would check it out. 

Notable Facts – One notable fact about Nyetimber is that the 1998 Blanc de Noirs was served at the G20 Summit at the Downing Street reception in London a few weeks ago.  The vineyard has a terroir similar to those in Champagne and all grapes are trellised on the single Guyot System identical to that used in the Champagne area. The estate was planted in 1992 by fellow Americans Stuart and Sandy Moss, after a prolonged search for a site capable of rivaling the best estates in France .  The current production methods exceed the French rules including maturing the wines for at least 5 years – double the minimum required for champagne.

Nyetimber currently has 35 acres under vine with aggressive expansion plans.  In 2006, 148 acres of vines were planted followed by an additional 74 acres in May of 2007.

Unfortunately I had a packed schedule this week in London, Ampthill, Farnham and Havant so I was not able to visit Nyetimber, but I did manage to pick up a bottle at the wine shop in Harrod’s.  I shared my initial skepticism with the Harrod’s wine clerk and he quickly schooled me on why this sparkling wine could rival some of the better Champagnes and Sparkling Wines from around the world.   The same techtonic plate and terroir as Champagne, blah blah blah.

Nyetimber2003 Nytimber Pinot Meunier Bland De Noirs Vintage

28.95 British pounds at Harrods ~ $44US.   Golden color.  On the nose, I got a lively green apple, faint skittles candy and an intense bread dough aroma.  The bread dough was more of a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop smell which really made me want a Krispy Kreme hot-n-now.  (I did pick up a Krispy Kreme glazed donut on upper floor on the way out of Harrods for the walk back to the Tube).  Very fresh in the mouth – the bubbles were lively with more skittles and unripe fruit (in a good way) with a toasty/yeasty finish.  Shorter than hoped for finish, but lively and well worth the trip to Harrods. 

Want to expand your palate and try something that could possibly rival some of the better champagnes?  If you can find it… pick up one of the Nyetimber Sparkling Wine offerings! 

Really good stuff!!!