Things have been fairly quiet on here recently as preparations for a work-related interview have cut down not only my spare time, but also our sampling. However, the results of my recent WSET exam (I did much better than I’d expected) gave us cause to open a bottle of bubbles.

I’ve followed the rise of English sparkling wines with some interest, partly because we know the predominant growing area in Sussex quite well. My aunt lives in West Chiltington, where Nyetimber is produced, and it’s been served on family occasions, including our engagement lunch.

I was therefore really chuffed when the Nyetimber 2003 Classic Cuvée was crowned ‘Champion of Worldwide Sparkling Wines’ back in January in the 2nd annual ‘Bollicine Del Mondo’ competition in Italy. Champagnes and sparkling wines competed against each other on a level playing field, and the Nyetimber was up against Champagnes including Louis Roederer (Millesimè 2000), the Bollinger-owned Champagne Ayala, (Dosage Zero), and Pommery (Blancs de Blanc and Brut Apanage).

Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s now almost impossible to get hold of the wine, but I managed to secure a few bottles via

Nyetimber 2003 Classic Cuvee

The Classic Cuvée is made using the Traditional Method, and the richness of the 2003 vintage is probably due at least in part to the incredibly hot summer we experienced in the South of England that year. The wine is a pale lemon colour, and Chardonnay predominates. On the nose, there were strong notes of green apple, with just a hint of toast. The palate was lovely and fruity with, again, green apple and apricot, plus citrus and a touch of minerality on the finish. A lovely, refreshing aperitif. (16/20)