As the Brits are winning Golds at the games and are second on the leaderboard, on the English wine front we're doing just as well. With Gold medals at all the major competitions we've piqued the interest of the Champagne houses who are investing in land over here. Our reputation is built upon sparkling but we can be just as proud of our still white, rose and even some red wines now too. Global warming is certainly helping but we're also developing the know how and the experience - amply demonstrated by the modest Sam Lindo at Camel Valley Vineyards where I visited today. The vineyard is within cycling distance from Padstow in Cornwall in idyllic English countryside along the pretty Camel River. Planted in 1989 with grape varieties like Seyval Blanc which makes their excellent Cornwall Brut Sparkling, more familiar grapes such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir also thrive on these sunny sites. The Bacchus Dry has delicate, pure aromas with lovely concentration. These wines are really the best of English summer in a glass.
I like the way Bob and Sam have developed their business, focussing on what works, growing organically, keeping things simple, keeping a level head. They know that the vagaries of the British climate can pose threats for a single site operation so they have wisely developed a multi-site approach, ensuring a reliable consistent supply of grapes. Production is now around 200,000 bottles and at that size they're small enough to be in constant high demand. You'll find Camel Valley wines only at the best outlets. I asked Sam what his favourite food and wine pairing was, expecting him to say something like freshly-caught brill with Darnibole Bacchus but in typically down-to-earth style his favourite is Cornish fish and chips with Camel Valley Brut - so good you'd have it twice!