The original Nyetimber estate in the heart of West Sussex is steeped in English history. Domesday records mention ‘Nitimbreha’ as one of the estates given by William the Conqueror to his Norman feudal baron Roger de Montgomery. Unsurprisingly, over the turbulent centuries that followed the Nyetimber estate changed hands many times until it was bought by the nephew of American Banker JP Morgan in 1919. The fashionable Arts & Crafts movement heavily influenced the renovation of the main building which still retains much of the decorative stained glass and intricate plasterwork installed at the time.
The winemaking era began in 1988 when the first Nyetimber vineyards were established by Stuart and Sandy Moss from Chicago. They bought the estate with the ambition of transforming it from a working farm into a commercial vineyard. They carefully planted the vineyards with the classic Champagne varieties of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier which are ideally suited to the soils – similar to those found in Champagne itself - and undulating slopes here. In 2001 the couple sold the business on to the songwriter and producer Andy Hill whose biggest claim to fame was co-writing the winning Eurovision song for his wife’s group Buck’s Fizz. We suspect that the name of the group was no simple coincidence…In 2006 the estate was acquired by the present owner Eric Heerema who has expanded the estate to over 400 acres, making it the largest in the UK to make wine from only estate-grown fruit. The wines produced are full-flavoured, premium sparklers made using the same methods as those in Champagne.
The Nyetimber cuvées have won enthusiastic reviews from the wine press and are regularly served at state occasions. The classic blend is chardonnay-dominated with pinot noir and meunier in support and has at least three years’ bottle maturation before release for sale. The rich texture and finesse of the chardonnay-only cuvée put it on a par with fine Blanc de Blancs Champagne.