A little something to lift the gloom
Outside your window it is probably grey and frankly, bloody miserable. Snow is all well and good, but here in Plymouth we don’t get much in the way of snow, rain is what we specialise in. It’s grim.
I know many of you have had snow or sleet, but I’m willing to bet the newness has worn off and you’re a bit tired of the slush that seems able to penetrate even the most waterproof of shoes and trousers. So what I want to do today is give you a small moment of escapism. In the harsh depths of the harshest winter since the time of the dinosaurs, or something.
Close your eyes and imagine that the sun is high in a clear sky, beaming down enough heat to envelope you in a warm blanket of air – not too hot, just Goldilocks right. You’re sitting in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt on a raised terrace, overlooking a valley with gentle sloping hillsides running down to the bottom, where a small stream gurgles beneath lush foliage. On those slopes are acres of vines. In your hand is a glass of effervescent sparkling wine, which you sip occasionally as you relax, enjoying the vista and the gentle heat of the afternoon.
Sound like a fairy tale interpretation of a holiday in the South of France? Nah, this is Cornwall.
Given the last “summer” it does involve a little bit of poetic licence but here at Foodies South West we are glass half-full types of people, trying to spread a little love. So humour us will you, we’re doing you a favour.
The place I’m describing is theCamel Valley Vineyard. Just north west of Bodmin in Cornwall, at Nantstallon, it is one of my favourite businesses. It was set up by Bob Lindo 20 years or so ago, when a crash ended his career as an RAF fighter pilot. He invested his pension money in buying a plot of land and the vineyard was born. International gold medals now adorn the walls, the number of acres cultivated seems to keep growing, as do the offers from French vintners to buy them out. The full biog is here.
It was not so long ago that English wine was an international joke, but this stuff is very very good. The vineyard is best known for its Brut (Cornwall Brut, for the name champagne is only allowed to be used to refer to the French region’s produce), but it also makes great whites and decent reds (the landscape is less suited to red that whites and sparkling apparently, but it isn’t terrible).
As well as having a shop on the site, you can also, as described above, take a glass upon the terrace and enjoy the ambience. You can also take a few moments to take a tour of the winery and do a tasting session.
I should add a disclaimer now that you should not drink and drive, be responsible. That is all.
What is also great about the wine is that like Cornish Sea Salt it falls into the “affordable luxury” category. The wine is around £10 per bottle – the nice bottle for the weekend market rather than the “man, I’ve had a shocking day at the office” market. The best value is the Brut – £20 a bottle, incredible for a quality bottle of fizz.
So as the mizzle keeps falling, and it seems like it will never again get warm, picture yourself on the side of a Cornish Valley, sipping wine with a loved one in the gentle warmth of the Cornish summer. And relax.