WINE REVIEW: Nyetimber Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine, England ($65)
by Andrew Chalk
Appearance: Deep West Texas sunset color. Fine mousse of bubbles spiralling upwards;
Nose: Rose petals, strawberry, with an earthy undercurrent;
Palate: Medium plus acid. Medium plus weight. The strawberry fruit wrap the edges of the tongue. A solid phenolic core grips the upper palate. The bubbles seem to burst as you swish the wine around in your mouth.
Overall: An impressive wine that would be right at home with a phalanx of rosé Champagnes in a blind tasting. Its quality makes it price competitive with front-tier Champagne.
Background: English sparkling wine vineyards are planted in the southern part of the country where the soil is the same Kimmeridgian mix of chalk and marl found in parts of Champagne. The nature of the soil gets its most visible exposure in the white cliffs of Dover where the swath of this soil crosses from Champagne, under the English Channel, and through southern England. Indeed, Kimmeridgian soil is named after the town of Kimmeridge in Dorset where French geologist Alcide d'Obigny first discovered it.
Added to the similar soil is a similar climate, pressed on by climate change. Small wonder that these factors make for wines indistinguishable from Champagne and small wonder that this fact has invoked substantial French investment in English vineyards.
Nyetimber was one of the first English wineries to establish U.S. distribution, as a result this wine is relatively easy to find at fine wine stores and online sources.