A GLIMPSE OF NYETIMBER
ERIC HEEREMA: IN HIS OWN WORDS
PERSPECTIVES OF PERFECTION
ERIC HEEREMA: IN HIS OWN WORDS
I grew up in a family where wine wasn’t really a popular drink. My father didn’t like wine at all. And when I was around seventeen, I started to be interested in reading about wine. My mother was telling everyone, like ‘Eric is so serious, he goes upstairs and he works for three hours’, and it was true, I did go upstairs, but actually I would read about wine for at least two and a half hours.
I always hoped that one day I would start, or would be involved with a vineyard. Some ten years ago, when I lived in the countryside in West Sussex, I picked up the trend of sparkling wine. I was convinced that English sparkling wine had a future because outside of Champagne, there are only a few places in the whole world that have the potential of producing the very best sparkling wines. You need a good climate, there are lots of criteria; like the soil, and at best, all of these qualities come together in the south of England Nyetimber as an estate has a very long history, it was first mentioned in the Doomsday book. And the estate as a vineyard dates back twenty-five years, so we’re celebrating that this year.
Walking through the vineyard chatting, it’s always interesting to hear what they’ve experienced and what their ideas are. Cherie is our wine maker, and actually it’s a couple of wine makers; Cherie Spriggs and Brad Beatrix, her husband. From the first moment when they arrived, it really clicked, and they’re still with us, and I hope they stay a long, long time.
Pascal comes from France; he’s a viticulturist, trained in France. Pascal shares the passion that Cherie and I have about creating the very best possible sparkling wine.
Wine has always played an important part in my life since I was seventeen years old. My partner Hannah and I love drinking wine together. We go to our wine cellar; we pick a wine for the evening. It’s wonderful to live here throughout the seasons and walk through the vineyards, and seeing how they develop through the season.
This house and this life is for us what it’s all about, it’s our life, we love it, and yes, we’re here to stay.
Ever since the very first vines were planted
Nyetimber has had a single aim: to make the finest English
sparkling wine there is. With geography, climate, passion and
determination on our side, we knew we could
rival the best in the world, including Champagne.
"I don't think in years
but in generations" Eric Heerema, Owner & Chief Executive
The Nyetimber estate counts three major landmarks in its history. Its earliest beginnings saw it first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. Then there was the planting of the first vines, almost exactly 900 years later. Most recently, there was the decision in 2006 that Nyetimber wines deserved an audience on the world stage.
Nyetimber is in the fortunate position to own one hundred percent of our vineyards and all of our wines are produced from the 170 hectares we have planted at the best sites in West Sussex and Hampshire. Nyetimber’s vineyards were the first to be devoted exclusively to the holy trinity of Champagne grapes: chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir.
A millennium might have passed since our name was coined as ‘Nitimbreha’, likely referring to a newly timbered house or perhaps a small timber plantation. But the most significant developments for this House have taken place in a single decade with our winemaking team among the most proficient in the world.
"THIS IS ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS, WONDERFUL, GOLDEN HUE...CITRUSSY BOUQUET AND PLEASING AROMATIC DRYNESS ON THE PALATE..." WILL LYONS
CHERIE SPRIGGS: IN HER OWN WORDS
Everything we do at Nyetimber is done in the passionate pursuit of the very best quality possible.
Sometimes our perfectionism might seem to be extreme, but we have made a commitment to our customers and this country to produce the best we can.
We just don't want to compromise.
“Over in West Sussex, Cherie Spriggs caused a stir this year when she declared she would not be bottling a 2012 vintage at her English sparkling estate Nyetimber, as the quality of the grapes was not up to her high standards.” Lucy Shaw,
the drinks business, 21 December 2012
Southern England is perfect for the production of sparkling wine. The chalk seam that supplies Champagne grapes with the perfect green sand and chalky soil to flourish is the very same that runs under the lee of the South Downs. This is where, sheltered from the coastal winds, our vines are planted across eight separate sites.
The climate here allows for the slow ripening of our grapes, allowing us to achieve the optimum level of acidity for the wine, as well as the complexity and finesse that we strive for.
Unlike most other Houses, at Nyetimber we use only our own grapes from our own vineyards. Prior to harvest, the grapes are tasted to ensure the best flavour development before picking. And if they aren’t up to standard? We simply won’t use them.
"NYETIMBER IS IN MOST CRITICS' VIEW - MINE INCLUDED - THE MOST SERIOUS ENGLISH SPARKLER...THIS IS FRESH AND CLEAN BUT WELL BALANCED, WITH SOME DEPTH." ANDREW NEATHER,EVENING STANDARD, 31 MAY 2012
HAVING OPTIMAL CONDITIONS IS ONLY PART OF THE STORY WHEN IT COMES TO MAKING A TRULY GREAT WINE. PART ART, PART SCIENCE, IT REQUIRES IMAGINATION, ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND A DEDICATION TO CRAFTSMANSHIP.
Our winemaker, Cherie Spriggs, is central to every decision that gets made. She assesses each and every handpicked vineyard individually. This means choosing the optimal time to harvest the grapes, and supervising their gentle pressing and eventual vinification in stainless steel tanks. This level of intimacy allows us to make the most informed blending decisions the following spring.
We craft all our wines at Nyetimber according to the traditional method, aging them for extended periods of time and giving the bottles sufficient post-disgorgement time before release. Since each and every decision along the way has an impact on the eventual flavour of our wines, we are careful to do everything ourselves, in the way we believe it should be done.
WE USE ONLY OUR OWN GRAPES AT NYETIMBER, WHICH ARE HANDPICKED EXCLUSIVELY FROM OUR OWN VINEYARDS. THIS WAY, WE CAN MONITOR AND ADJUST EVERY STEP FROM VINE TO BOTTLE.
DURING HARVEST WE COLLECT OUR GRAPES IN CRATES HALF THE SIZE OF THOSE USED IN CHAMPAGNE TO AVOID THE DELICATE FRUIT BEING BRUISED.
ALL OUR GRAPES ARE PRESSED WITHIN A FEW HOURS OF BEING PICKED, TO ENSURE THAT THE FRESHEST JUICE REACHES THE WINERY.
WHEN IT COMES TO THE PRESSING, WE USE A COQUARD PRESS. THIS EXCEEDINGLY GENTLE, STATE-OF-THE-ART APPARATUS ENSURES THAT EACH JUICE RETAINS THE UNIQUE CHARACTER OF ITS VINEYARD PARCEL.
JUICE FROM EACH PRESSING IS DIVERTED INTO SEPARATE BATCHES BASED ENTIRELY ON ITS TASTE AS IT FLOWS FROM THE PRESS.
THE INDIVIDUAL PARCELS ARE KEPT IN INDIVIDUAL TANKS ON THEIR LEES TO ALLOW THE WINEMAKER TO BLEND FROM AS COMPREHENSIVE A SELECTION AS POSSIBLE.
"MAKING THE BEST WINE WE CAN MEANS HAVING THE BEST PEOPLE IN PLACE. IN SOME CASES WE HAVE FOUND THEM, BUT IN MANY CASES THEY HAVE FOUND US." CHERIE SPRIGGS
Cherie is our chief winemaker. While she has vast experience producing quality wines all over the world, Cherie was drawn to Nyetimber many years ago while still living in Canada. Cherie’s training included postgraduate studies at the Wine Research Center in Vancouver, and subsequently at Adelaide University. She worked in McLaren Vale and the Hunter Valley in Australia, Central Otago in New Zealand, Oregon and on Vancouver Island before joining Nyetimber with her husband Brad in 2007.
"HAVING TASTED IT I REALISED THAT SOMETHING SPECIAL WAS HAPPENING IN THE SPARKLING WINE INDUSTRY IN ENGLAND, SO I DECIDED TO MAKE CONTACT."
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