Nyetimber launches £150 English fizz from ‘unsung’ vintageBy Patrick Schmitt
English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber has launched the “unsung” 2010 vintage of its £150 prestige cuvée called 1086.
The top end fizz – which is the most expensive English wine ever released – will be available exclusively in luxury department store Fortnum & Mason for two weeks, before being made available to restaurants and retailers across the UK and worldwide.
Taking its name from the year in which the Domesday Book was completed, which featured the first written record of the Nyetimber estate, 1086 is not only the priciest English wine ever released, but, with the launch last year of the inaugural 2009 vintage, the first prestige cuvée in the English fizz sector.
The 1086 white sparkling wine follows the unveiling last year of a rosé from 2010 that was priced even more highly, costing £175, and taking its colour from the addition of 19% red wine from a specially-selected parcel of Pinot Noir on the Nyetimber estate.
Speaking yesterday at a launch event in London, head winemaker Cherie Spriggs said that 12,000 bottles and 800 magnums had been made from the 2010 vintage including both the blanc and rosé versions of the 1086.
Although the 1086 from 2010 has been made in the same way as the fizz from the previous vintage, Spriggs’ husband and fellow winemaker at Nyetimber, Brad Greatrix, said that the style of the latest release was slightly different due to the vintage conditions.
“2009 was a more generous and open vintage, while 2010 is more delicate and precise, it is the signature of the growing season,” he said, adding that the vines in 2010 benefitted from a “long, cool ripening until October.”
Continuing, he said of 2010’s conditions, “It was a very good year for us, and it is a slightly unsung vintage, which had a couple of hallmarks: it was a cool dry season overall, aside from July, which was very hot, and that coincided exactly with flowering so we set a good, healthy, big crop.”
Commenting on the rainfall, he added that although total figures for precipitation in 2010 look “normal”, most of the rain fell in the winter months, while April to October was dry, ensuring that the grapes ripened in a “slow, gradual way”.
Summing up on the vintage, he said, “All vintage-dated wines from 2010 have been delicious”.
While the aim for Nyetimber is to release a 1086 prestige cuvée every year as a special selection of the best wines from the harvest, Spriggs told db that the producer wouldn’t be releasing the top-end expression from 2011, or from 2012 – when Nyetimber made no wine whatsoever due to abnormally wet conditions during flowering and the ripening season.
However, she confirmed that Nyetimber had made a 2013 vintage expression of 1086.
While the white 1086 from 2010 was disgorged in February this year, meaning it has spent seven years ageing on its lees and nine months maturing post-disgorgement, the rosé version was disgorged in December 2016, ensuring it had almost two years resting off its lees before launching late last year.
Spriggs said that the rosé needed a longer period resting in the Nyetimber cellars off its lees “because we found that the rosé had a phenolic texture and we wanted quite a long post-disgorgement time to give the wine a glycerol texture to wrap around the phenolics.”
Meanwhile, she said that the wanted “the maximum amount of time on the lees for the white because we wanted a vanilla-like character on the finish.”
The 2010 1086 is a blend of 45% Chardonnay, 44% Pinot Noir and 11% Pinot Meunier, with a total acidity of 7.8 g/l, a pH of 3.01, and a dosage of 9.7g/l.
The wine was described by Spriggs as combinining characters of grapefruit, nougat, and mineral notes, with a touch of vanilla on the finish.