Our next mini-series of articles charts the success and offerings of English Wine Producers, a hot topic following this week’s BBC Radio 4 investigation by Sheila Dillon into the rise of English Wines.
First on our hot list is Camel Valley in Cornwall.
A English Vineyard of Note:
Founded in 1989 by former RAF pilot Bob Lindo and his wife Annie, the Camel Valley estate in Cornwall has fast garnered a reputation as a leading English vineyard.
The vineyards themselves are quite simply breath-taking in appearance. The slopes on which they lie face southwards, perfectly angled to bask in the sun – you may even be forgiven for thinking you’re in Italy. The River Camel flows serenely at its end, providing a natural border for the grounds. The surrounding countryside is lush and beautiful, too; there are few locations quite so tranquil and relaxing within Britain. It is here that Camel Valley has cultivated and created the perpetually successful Cornwall Brut and Pinot Noir Rosé, both sparkling wines being worthy of a sampling should you be visiting for a tasting session. Wine tasting sessions at this award-winning vineyard allow you the opportunity to taste no fewer than four wines and, with their bubbles being noteworthy, booking in advance is, perhaps unsurprisingly, highly recommended.
The tours of the Camel Valley estate are both informative and interesting and take place every Wednesday throughout the beginning of April to the end of October, with an additional tour on Thursdays during August. This may be especially appealing to those holidaying in the region as somewhere to enjoy the gorgeous Cornish countryside, whilst sampling a well-deserved glass of chilled sparkling wine.
The vineyard, however, offers more than just pastoral eye-candy. Camel Valley’s 82 acre vineyard is now run by Bob’s son, Sam who’s success has been highlighted by being crowned Best UK Winemaker in 2007, 2010, and 2011. His efforts at Camel Valley have culminated in this year winning an unprecedented 2 Gold medals, 1 Trophy, 1 Silver medal and 2 Bronze medals in the 2014 International Wine Challenge (IWC). The award-winning wines to receive the Gold medals were the 2009 Chardonnay Brut and the 2012 Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rose Brut (that also won the sparkling rose trophy).
It certainly is exciting times for this growing UK vineyard as they expand their award-cabinet with IWC medals and trophies, including the International Trophy for the best sparkling rose in the world.
Just last month, Sam Lindo became one of only three global winemakers shortlisted for the International Sparkling Winemaker of the Year award to battle it out for the ‘best in the world’ top spot alongside two French champagne makers.
On his nomination, Sam was recently quoted in the Telegraph saying, “This award is like the Oscars. Just to be shortlisted is fantastic. It will put our vineyard on the map. One of the two champagne makers shortlisted for the award, Charles Heidsieck has already won it a few times…To knock him off his perch would be quite a coup. For an English wine to beat French champagne houses would definitely cause quite a stir.”
However, our congratulations this year go to Thierry Roset from Charles Heidsick, who was just recently crowned the winner by the judges. So, Sam, we wish you better luck next year!
Extending your visit to Camel Valley, Cornwall
Should you wish to stay at the vineyard overnight, there are two charming cottages available; one suitable for a couple, the other for a family. Both are well-furnished and equipped, and possess plenty of character. They offer stunning views of the vineyard and guests at the cottages are also able to hike down the Camel Trail, or to go fishing in the Camel River, should conditions be favourable.
Furthermore, if you are looking for a distraction beyond the grounds the famed beaches of Cornwall await only a few miles away. Spend a day relaxing on the beach, and return late to taste world-renowned wine. Doesn’t sound bad, does it?
Wine Tasting from Afar:
If you’re unable to pay Camel Valley a visit in person, then fret not as all of their wines are available to purchase from the vineyard itself via their online website.
In addition their Camel Valley’s 2012 Pinot Noir Rose Brut is available to buy from selected Waitrose stores as well as Fortnum & Mason’s and Berry Bros.
“Made with 100% Pinot Noir, this light-pink sparkling wine is crisply acidic yet well-balanced, having a delicately fragranced floral nose with summer berry notes of raspberry and wild-strawberry.”
This graceful award-winning wine would pair perfectly with a seafood dish, such as our Prawns & Scallops Recipe.