Avec toi, Chérie, la vie est belle

The chérie in the title is The Editor, in this article it is Nyetimber Cuvée Chérie Demi-Sec sparkling wine. We drank Nyetimber Cuvée Chérie in place of dessert after the meal The Editor shared to celebrate his birthday. We chose this wine because Demi-Sec sparkling wine is distinctly sweet.

If sweet wine in general is considered a bit naff, then sweet fizz is vastly more so. Elitistreview regulars will know all too well that some of the best wines in the world are off-dry to intensely sweet. I must open myself up to being called a big girl’s blouse here by saying I have enjoyed Demi-Sec fizz on many occasions.

You may note my use of the word ‘occasions’ rather than saying I have enjoyed many Demi-Sec sparkling wines. This is because I have drank precisely four different Demi-Sec sparkling wines of the proper Merrett method of secondary fermentation in bottle. I include this one in that number.

That is not really a huge sample size, is it? One of them, Veuve Cliquot, was really disgusting as well! So now I am down to three examples.

Champagne Pol Roger Demi-Sec used to be very palatable – I used to horse down loads of it when I went to Champagne roughly twenty-five years ago. More recently, I have extracted a lot of pleasure from Hampshire’s Hattingley Valley Demi-Sec that seems a lot better than how a remember Pol Demi-Sec a quarter of a century ago.

Then there is Nyetimber Cuvée Chérie Demi-Sec. Unusually, this is not made from the standard non-vintage fizz but with an extra load of sugar added. It is a pure Chardonnay-based wine, a Blanc des Blancs.

Making a sweet Blanc des Blancs is unusual because, as I said, Demi-Sec sparkling wines are not considered to be a prestige product worth much effort on the part of the sparkling wine producer. Blanc des Blancs fizz, on the other hand, is serious stuff! It is usually worth a big pile of extra folding. The logic behind this extravagant move will hopefully become clear as we taste the wine.

One point I should make before continuing is that the dosage on this Nyetimber Cuvée Chérie is 28 grams of sugar per litre of wine. According to the dosage scale used for the sparkling wines of the Champagne region this would make the wine classified in the slightly drier Sec category, but that is that French; this is English wine.

Lastly before commencing the note I would like to thank the sparkling wine expert Steven Pritchard for encouraging me to try Nyetimber wines again.

To the note!

The Editor with Nyetimber Cuvée Chérie Demi-Sec

Avec toi, Chérie, la vie est belle

Cuvée Chérie Demi-Sec Non-Vintage, Nyetimber

A pleasing nose of delicate lemon fruit. There is some very nice elderflower character as well.

There is a bit of Digestive biscuit, but this nose is really built around light, citrus fruit and floral aromas.

Nyetimber Cuvée Chérie is an unexpectedly finely honed, very refined style of Demi-Sec – not at all like the usual ‘classic’ blend with extra sugar. Consequently, it smells highly attractive.

The palate is obviously sweet but with light citrus acidity and a fine mousse it is not at all heavy. Indeed it is a very refreshing Demi-Sec that really perked us up at the end of a meal.

Cuvée Chérie is polished and comely, and serving such a light Demi-Sec with a very sweet dessert would be wasting it. Indeed, this is too refined to even drink with cheese. I think I made the right choice in having this alone after a meal as dessert.

I am happy to admit Nyetimer Cuvée Chérie is not the most complex wine in the world, but it is quite svelte and very enjoyable. If you want a Demi-Sec that delights and refreshes rather than the usual heavier ‘classic’ blends you could not do better than this!

Buy from Hennings.