Cornish Camel Valley wine is one of England's best | Alistair Gibson
I managed to take a holiday in Cornwall last week, having booked a house in a lovely north Cornish village by the sea back in December.
With some of the family there it was also an opportunity to sit around a kitchen table or the barbecue and enjoy some nice food, wine, and, after all this time, some company.
What does someone who writes about wine drink on holiday? Here are three which left an impression on those sitting round the dinner table.
Sherry is one of the world’s great wine styles.
It is enjoying something of a revival, largely due to the general interest in Spanish food and wine, but it is still passed over on the wine shelves. There are many styles of sherry but, for me, fino and manzanilla offer the most food- friendly wines.
Manzanilla is produced exclusively in the seaside village of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and it is the coastal climate that gives this wine its unique style and differentiates it from other sherries in the Jerez region.
Barbadillo Solear Manzanilla (£10.99 75cl bottle Waitrose, £5.95 37.5cl half bottle slurp.co.uk) is a great introduction to this style of wine.
A very pale colour in the glass, the bouquet offers an unmistakable tang of sea air, as well as nuts, oyster shell, and some apple notes before a very fresh palate with more salty notes, green apples, and a long, bone dry palate.
It makes a wonderful aperitif, works fantastically with fresh seafood, and is, without question, a bargain.
I always try to visit Camel Valley Vineyard when I’m in Cornwall and on this occasion bought a bottle of Camel Valley Bacchus Dry 2018, Cornwall (£14.95 camelvalley.com, available in some Waitrose stores) to drink with dinner that night.
Unquestionably, this is one of England’s best still white wines and this vintage is gorgeous. It reminds me of summer hedgerows, with elderflower to the fore, but there are also notes of pear, lime, and apple on the nose before a really fresh, zesty palate. A perfect match with oysters.
A definite crowd-pleaser over the week was Côtes du Rhône 2016 Vidal-Fleury (Majestic £11.99 or £9.99 as part of a mixed six).
There are dark berry fruits as well as some spice and savoury notes followed by some richness on the palate with ripe dark fruits and a lush, really concentrated finish.
Not the cheapest Côtes du Rhône perhaps but for me this is really good wine and worked fantastically with Cornish steaks on the barbecue.