Throughout our trip to the South West we saw fliers for Camel Valley vineyard. So on one of the less sunny days we embarked on the forlorn drive over Bodmin Moor and over to the Camel Valley, which is only a short hop from Padstow and the gastronomic wonders of Rick Stein and perhaps more interestingly, Margots.
The Camel Valley Vineyard has become increasingly well known and respected for their sparkling white and rose wines as well as for their fresh and not quite ripe whites. Given that these are just the sorts of wines Cowie loves to guzzle it made for an entertaining trip.
We picnicked by the Camel River before our tour, nestling in amongst the nettles and undergrowth next to a charming bridge with nothing but the trickle of water to distract us from our cured meats and salad. If it had been a bit warmer you could have convinced me I was in the Dordogne.
We were given a tour by Sam who is the son of Bob Lindo who owns the vineyard. They planted their first 8,000 vines 20 years ago and have been vanguards of the English wine movement ever since. They grown a mixture of grapes which seem not only tolerant of chilly English conditions but actually well suited. Given that the vineyard is not enormous, their main concern is one of volume. Their wine, apparently, tastes the same from year to year, but the grape yield tends to vary significantly depending broadly on how warm the summer is.
Because the climate isn’t warm enough for the grapes to ripen fully (much like Champagne) the wine tends to express the tart flavours of the English countryside such as elderflower, gooseberry, raspberry and a whole bunch of other limey-green, refreshing flavours.
We sipped our glasses of award winning wines on the balcony overlooking their vineyards and down the valley to Padstow. The Bacchus was like drinking a green fruit sorbet whilst the pink sparkler was beautifully rosey on the eye and better than any of the usual supermarket contenders from Champagne. We’ll be looking out for their wines in the future and can recommend a visit to anyone with an interest in seeing the embryonic first steps of English wine into the mainstream.
If your looking for other things to do on wet or gloomy days when your exploring Devon and Cornwall places then we’ve been recommended other excursions such as Sharpham Vineyards, Ticklemore cheese and a trip to the Helford Oyster beds isn’t a bad shout either.
This is part of a series about our trip around the South West.