30 years old this year, Nyetimber uses the anniversary to finally unveil its two 1086 Prestige Cuvées, a project that has been kept a closely-guarded secret until last night’s launch. Anne Krebiehl MW was there for The Buyer to hear CEO and owner Eric Heerema talk about how Nyetimber continues to be a ‘disruptor’ in the marketplace and to taste the wines themselves. For Anne, Nyetimber 1086 sets a new standard in English sparkling wine and proves, once again, the eminent suitability for Pinot Noir in this climate.
It’s the two years in bottle after disgorgement that is one of the key points of difference.
30 years after being founded, Nyetimber uses its anniversary year to release two vintage-dated prestige cuvées.
Named 1086, after the year in which the ancient Nyetimber Estate was first mentioned in the Doomsday Book as ‘Nitimbreha’, these two wines set a new standard and vindicate all who doubted English wine.
“Finally we can say 1086 out loud,” said Brad Greatrix, winemaker at Nyetimber together with his wife Cherie Spriggs, head winemaker, referring to the years and years they had to keep this exciting project under wraps.
Owner and CEO Eric Heerema, speaking at the Ritz in London, hailed the wines as “a dramatic step forward with Cherie and Brad. Together we left no stone unturned to make the best sparkling wine we could make. In 2009 we embarked on our dream.”
This vintage prompted them to select some of the very best fruit from their vineyards for the white prestige cuvée, a year later the same process made the base for the rosé prestige cuvée.
Heerema referred to Nyetimber as a “disruptor” of the global sparkling wine market and noted that right from the start the Nyetimber wines were ”priced boldly”.
Head winemaker Cherie Spriggs said: “We believe in the strength of simplicity and when we set out to make our prestige cuvée we decided to keep this strength.” Working with fruit exclusively from estate vineyards “brings real inspiration,” she said.
“The intention was to create balance,” noting that England “is blessed with acidity.” Both cuvées were given the luxury of two years post-disgorgement ageing. Both were à point last night, but it was the rosé that set a special accent.
Only 2600 bottles and 40 magnums of the white cuvée was made, it will retail at £150 for 750ml. Of the rosé cuvée 12,000 bottles were made and 850 magnums. The RRP for the 750ml rosé is £175.
2009 Nyetimber 1086
A blend of 46% Chardonnay, 43% Pinot Noir and 11% Pinot Meunier from greensand sites in West Sussex, this was bottled in March 2010, riddled in June 2016, disgorged in July 2016 and released in September 2018.
At first taut and closed, the wine opened up beautifully, revealing a nose of sablé biscuit, sea breeze and a touch of lemon freshness. The creamy but slender body hints at a wonderful depth that opened to suggestions of honey, earth and lemon zest.
The wine is lovely now with a remarkable texture but certainly has the substance to develop. It benefits immensely from its post-disgorgement age.
2010 Nyetimber 1086 Rosé
A blend of 75% Pinot Noir (of which 19% had been vinified as red) and 25% Chardonnay, both from West Sussex, this was bottled in April 2011, riddled in February 2016, disgorged in June 2016 and released in September 2018.
It has an alluring colour of smoky, dusky pink. Its scented, lifted nose of pure redcurrant is arresting. The palate is slender, sleek and even a little crunchy – but aligned to the Nyetimber creaminess and fine mousse. Crisp, red apple and purest, tart redcurrant fruit shine. This is lovely now but will evolve. While both wines are great achievements, it is the rosé that proves the absolute and eminent suitability of Pinot Noir for this climate. Its fruit is brilliant and clear-cut with an aromatic hinterland and depth well worth exploring.