Now, we know we have talked about why Cornwall is a foodie haven already, but this month we want to talk about more local produce, and more specifically, Cornish wine… after all, who doesn’t love a wine night right?… hic!
Although we have a love of all local Cornish produce, we do have a soft spot for this particular tipple!. In fact, we hosted our first cheese and wine evening for one of our groups, with a local wine expert at the stunning Carlyon Bay hotel, earlier this month, and I am happy to say - and not to our shock, it was a complete success!
Partnering with local company, “Cornish Wine Tasting”, our expert Kate, was born and raised in Cornwall, and is extremely lucky to live in such a wonderful place with the freshest, and most delicious produce on her doorstep. This has allowed her passion and enthusiasm for great food and wine to grow into her Cornish Wine Tasting Experience business. Originally founded as the award-winning ‘Cornish Wine Tours’, she has tons of experience in the local wine scene, offering guests the very best in hospitality, knowledge and service.
You can follow a gastronomic culinary map around Cornwall, but for this entry we have selected a few of our favourites, ones that really tickled our taste buds!
At this point you might be thinking, Cornwall produces decent wine!? Yes. Yes we do. Of course, as in most cases, it’s down to personal preference, but we challenge you, here and now, to at least try some. Christmas is on the way, so why not fill those Christmas hampers with something a bit different for your friends and family! Not to mention the added value of supporting Cornish businesses, which, as you should know by now, we love.
Cornwall planted its first vineyard in 1978, which by most stretches, makes us a newcomer to the market, but don’t be fooled - age doesn’t count for everything. Two of our top picks this month for Cornish wines are Camel Valley and Knightor Winery.
As mentioned on their website Camel Valley, have been producing award-winning, world-class wines in a beautiful corner of Cornwall since 1989. When ex-RAF pilot Bob Lindo and his wife Annie planted their first eight thousand vines in 1989, they never dreamed of the phenomenal success they would achieve within 2 decades. They had bought their farm in the heart of the Cornish countryside several years earlier, seeking a change from service life and the perfect place to bring up their young family, and initially farmed sheep and cattle. Each summer they watched the grass turn brown on the sun-drenched slopes of the Camel Valley, and wondered if vines might enjoy such an aspect.
Bob 'did a vintage' in Germany and both took viticulture courses and read every vine and wine book they could find. They built a winery and equipped it with the finest equipment they could afford. Annie is the first to admit the early years weren't easy: 'We practically lived in the vineyard, doing all the work by hand, and when it came to harvest time it was just us and a few friends for picking, then Bob would stay up all night crushing the grapes. But we loved it, always striving for perfection in the vineyard and the winery, and then we won a medal in the national English Wine competition for our first wine, so we knew we were doing something right.'
More awards followed over the years, with Camel Valley wines consistently winning medals at both national and international level. In 2002 Bob and Annie won the Waitrose Drinks Producer of the Year Award, and the following year the South West Business Challenge award for Creating Wealth in the Rural Community. Bob continued as Winemaker, but now had a small team of full time staff to help in the vineyard and a new state of the art winery, and had started making Cornwall's first Traditional Method sparkling wine as well as still wines. His finest moment came in 2005 with an International Wine Challenge Gold Medal for Camel Valley 'Cornwall' sparkling wine. 'I was so proud to have won this, as our wine was up against the finest wines in the whole world and was the only gold medal awarded to a non-Champenoise wine. I really felt that I had set the standard for generations to come.'
When perusing Kinightor website you find out more about the working winery and exclusive wedding venue, this winery is set amongst four acres above St Austell Bay. There is also a restaurant and bar located at their vineyard on the Roseland. Delve into their world of premium wines, spritzes and cocktails. As well as the winery, Knightor is an established Cornish wedding venue and rustic events space. With a team of dedicated wedding and events coordinators, who work with guests to provide them with the opportunity to create an occasion that reflects their requirements down to every last detail. From bespoke wine tastings to important corporate meeting spaces, there are many possibilities when it comes to hosting your event at Knightor.
At the cellar door, you can explore a world of premium still and sparkling wines, plus a range of vermouths and spritzes, where rich and intense flavours make perfect cocktails and aperitifs. Their approach is to allow the grapes to express themselves often in short runs exclusive wines. Cool ferments and light touches of oak where it adds value, with careful blending or ageing to achieve depth and balance. The climate and low yields allow them to produce lighter, fruitier, lower abv wines with good acidity that are refreshing as an aperitif and good with food. Minimal intervention means all of their wines are vegan friendly, low in sulphates and the sweetness comes from fruit, not sugar.
Community is at the heart of what they do, from the series of events they run to their ever-popular Sunday Lunch, they want to ensure they bring people together to celebrate what Cornwall has to offer.
Now, we’re the types to lead by example, so we have indeed sampled all of the wines below and, as you would expect, we had very different favourites - we can’t wait to hear what your favourite is. No pressure of course…
Here’s some helpful notes kindly provided by our hosts of the cheese and wine evening.
Bacchus Dry 2022
Camel Valley Vineyard
A fresh and fruity dry white wine, bright with a grassy hue, England's answer to Sancerre. Good varietal character and length with crisp, tangy elderflower and grapefruit flavour.
A blend of their most perfumed varietal from 2022. Aromas of rose, pear and lychee jump out of the glass. The palate does not disappoint, showing superb complexity of flavour, citrusy with a characteristic spiciness to finish. Trevannion is a medium bodied and smooth with a light off-dry finish and great length.
Pinot Noir Rose 2022
Camel Valley Vineyard
A beautifully balanced luscious rose. Intense aromas of strawberries and raspberries. Perfect for sipping alfresco.
Cornwall Brut 2020
Camel Valley Vineyard
A fresh and fruity traditional method sparkling wine, perfect for all celebrations. Fresh yeasty aromas, English hedgerow scents with good acidity and a touch of honey on the palate.
Carpe Diem 2022
Lightly oaked, youthful and fresh. The nose is full of ripe berry characters such as cherry and strawberry, yet the regent also provides it with crushed black pepper, spice and a little blackcurrant leaf. An easy drinking medium bodied, food friendly red with good tannins and structure.
Cornish Blackberry Mead
Cornish Mead Co.
A classic grape wine base with bags of blackberry taste. Desert friendly!
We hope you enjoy sampling some (or all of!) these!
Along with the recent wine and cheese night, we love to incorporate local produce tasting and events into all of our tours and holidays, but after sampling (possibly more than we should) of these delicious wines - we are contemplating pairing up with Kate again to do a dedicated Cornish Wine tour… what do you think? Let us know what you think here
@Carlyon Bay Hotel
@Cornish Wine Tasting
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