(2020) Gusbourne is a trailblazer of the English wine scene, and seemingly endlessly inventive, with a clutch of one-off and new releases each year, both still and sparkling. The newest edition to the sparkling line-up, this is Pinot Noir from the 2016 vintage, sourced from Gusbourne's vineyards in Kent and West Sussex, and with 50% of the fruit 'dropped' - removed from the vine - during the growing season in order to strengthen and intensify the fruit that remained. A small percentage of the blend was fermented in oak barrels and the wine is Brut, with 7.5g/l residual sugar. Pale gold to straw in colour with plenty of miniscule bubbles, aromas are fresh and appetising, some hazelnut and almond, creamy and ripe orchard fruits, a hint of hawthorn. On the palate there's a juicy generosity to the fruit which is ripe, sweet and mouth-filling, verging on the peachy, but then the fine core of dazzling lemony acidity pushes through, a chalky element too, driving into a long finish. A superb English sparkling wine.
(2018) A small proportion of the Chardonnay for this cuvée from Nyetimber was barrel-fermented, and the wine was released only after a full five years on the lees. Pale straw/gold, with very small bubbles, the yeasty development is inviting, a touch of biscuit against the crisp summer orchard fruit. In the mouth it seems to have quite a sweet edge to the fruit, perhaps towards the top of the 'Brut' range I'd guess, and that, plus the creamy lees character, gives a slightly softer finish despite the wine retaining good zippy acid. It also makes it a very pleasing wine to sip, or match with white fish and sushi.
(2017) An assemblage with some wine vinified as red Pinot Noir in the blend, the overall Pinot Noir content is around 60%-75%. There's a delightful swirl of smokiness to this, lots of small redcurrant fruit that is dry and concentrated, but it is sweet too as it strikes the palate, lovely delineation, the fruit driving it against a quite creamy mousse, and a long and balanced finish.
(2017) Made from equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir by the hugely talented Dermot Sugrue of Wiston Estate, from Wiston fruit and fruit of neighbouring vineyards, this has a gentle note of toffee and nuttiness to otherwise very pure and clear fruit, the rolling but crisp mousse leading on to a pristine palate, fairly straightforward, but deliciously mid-weight with its sense of roundness and excellent acidity.
(2017) When Nyetimber introduced the first vintage of their single vineyard Pinot and Chardonnay blend last year it raised many eyebrows, ambitiously priced at £75 - £90 depending on stockist. 4117 bottles of this 2010 have now been released (this was bottle #60), the colour a pale green with gold inflections, the nose very Champagne-like with biscuit and lightly yeasty aromas and then baked apple and a fresh citrus note too. In the mouth it is bright and clear, those fresher notes of clean, cut apple and lemon and lime, fine acidity and just a lovely hint of the sweetness of the dosage and gentle toast in the finish.
(2015) A blend of the classic Champagne grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier this trophy-winning wine is excellent, opening with fine bubbles and a fresh aroma with some brioche and pastry notes, but a keen limey fruit and touch of bruised apple. In the mouth it has truly elegant balance, good acidity without any sharpness and a long finish with that touch of creaminess fattening the texture in the mouth. Exemplary wine, and less that £27 on some pre-Christmas deals in 1995, though more regularly between £28 and £33.
(2003) All the way from West Sussex, Nyetimber is England's only genuine word-class wine as yet, and I have raved about every vintage since the 1993. Charming, bright nose with lots of lemon and green apple highlights underpinned by a nettly quality. The palate is very fine, with a rich, rolling mousse and plenty of persistence under a palate of bold, herbal, citrussy fruit. Little tertiary development as yet, but hinting at complexity.