English sparkling wine Nyetimber has beaten the likes of Bollinger and Louis Roederer to be named Champion of Worldwide Sparking Wines at an Italian competition.
Nyetimber’s Classic Cuvée 2003, which costs around £25, came top in the blind tasting at the Bollicine del Mondo competition in Verona, run by Italian wine magazine Euposia.
The competition, now in its second year, is open to Champagnes and sparkling wines from around the world.
West Sussex-based Nyetimber’s 2003 vintage is described as fruit-driven with Chardonnay at the fore and ‘aromas of mandarins, vanilla, lemons, shortbread and light apricot’.
Cornwall-based Camel Valley’s Pinor Noir Brut beat Bollinger to 10th place, clinching an award in the ‘Rest of the World’ category.
Nyetimber head winemaker Cherie Spriggs put the win down to the ‘extraordinary year’ and ‘perfect amount of lees time’.
And she insisted they are not blasé at Nyetimber, despite winning a series of awards over the years. ‘It meant so much to us we shipped off our associate winemaker in the snow to pick up the award,’ she told decanter.com.
‘We don’t pretend we taste the same as Champagne. We have a different character, but to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with Champagne and be picked out as preferable is hugely exciting’.
She added, ‘This isn’t the end. We want to do more and go further by pushing the industry as a whole. English sparkling wine can compete with Champagne on the world stage. There’s an exciting momentum in the improvement of quality at the moment.’
A total of 52 sparkling wines entered the competition. The judging panel was made up of winemakers, sommeliers and journalists.
Nyetimber released its first vintage in 1992.
New video: How to Analyse Colour, with Steven Spurrier
Written by By Lucy Shaw