Friday, 31 August 2012

Laurie Hook, Beringer

At a recent dinner at the much-hyped steakhouse CUT at 45 Park Lane, I caught up with the lovely Laurie Hook, chief winemaker of Beringer Vineyards in Napa Valley, California, to talk about about the importance of the UK as an export market, the foie gras ban in California, Moscato madness in the US, and whether being a female winemaker has been a challenge in such a male dominated industry.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Brad Pitt to serve own rosé wine at wedding


Hollywood hunk Brad Pitt is to serve one of his own wines at his wedding to actress Angelina Jolie this September, db.com reports. Among the wines hand-picked by Pitt for the reception will be Provençal rosé Pink Floyd, produced at Pitt and Jolie’s Château Miraval in Côtes de Provence, which dates from pre-Roman times.

The wine is so named as rock band Pink Floyd recorded part of their iconic album The Wall at the château, and reportedly became fond of the pink drop during their stay. The estate was home to Studio Miraval in the ‘70s, created by Jazz pianist Jacques Loussier, where everyone from Sting and Sade to The Cranberries came to record music.

The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne will also feature in the wedding wine line-up, along with one wine from Germany. A source told The Sun: “Brad’s cellar boasts some incredibly rare wines and rivals those of some of the best connoisseurs in Europe. He’s always had a keen interest in wine and did his wine steward’s course this year.”

The Oxford Wine Company website describes the 2011 vintage of Pink Floyd as “a complex rosé with red berry, strawberry and red cherry fruit underpinned by crisp minerality and tight structure. The 13.5% wine, a blend of old vine Cinsault and Grenache, is bottled under cork.
Château Miraval is set among 400 hectares of land, 75 of which are planted with vines on a mixture of clay and chalk soil. In addition to Pink Floyd, the estate produces a white made from Rolle and a red made from Syrah, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. The château has certified organic vineyards in Côtes de Provence and Côteaux Varois.
Pitt and Jolie plan to tie the knot in September with only close family and friends present. Pitt has been left to do the majority of the wedding planning. In May, it was reported that Brad Pitt is to star in the film adaptation of The Billionaire’s Vinegar, a book by Benjamin Wallace on the fake Thomas Jefferson bottles affair.  

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

LVMH files lawsuit against Ace of Spades


Luxury goods giant LVMH has filed a false-advertising lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court against Armand de Brignac Champagne, db.com reports. According to The New York Post, the makers of Dom Pérignon and Moët & Chandon filed a suit last Friday that seeks to put a stop to Armand de Brignac’s claim that it is “rated the number one Champagne in the world.”

Moët Hennessy USA believes the Champagne house “is intentionally misleading consumers” about the quality of its fizz, which includes Armand de Brignac Brut Gold NV, affectionately known as Ace of Spades. The suit states that the Brut Gold NV is the only of Armand de Brignac’s cuvées to be rated number one by Finnish Champagne expert Essi Avellan MW’s FINE Champagne Magazine, “and that rating occurred in 2010.”

“Since then, Armand de Brignac Brut Gold NV has fared much worse in that periodical’s testing, rated number 23 in 2011, and number 22 in 2012,” court papers charge. In addition to barring the company from using the “number one” rating, the suit seeks unspecified damages for unfair competition and all of Armand de Brignac’s profits from “its false and misleading advertisement.”

A favourite among hip-hop artists including Jay Z, Kanye West, Chris Brown and Drake, a Nebuchadnezzar of Armand de Brignac Brut Gold worth an estimated £80,000 was brought to Usain Bolt’s VIP table at Movida nightclub in London earlier this month after the Jamaican sprinter helped smash the world record for the 4x10o-metre relay at the London 2012 Olympics. 

Monday, 27 August 2012

Red wine could keep elderly on their feet


Another good reason to enjoy a glass of red a day – resveratrol, the compound found in red wine grape skins, could help to improve balance and mobility in seniors, research has found. As reported on db.com, the findings, presented to the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, could lead to the development of natural products to help protect elderly people against life-threatening falls.

Researchers fed mice a diet containing resveratrol for eight weeks, and measured their ability to navigate a steel mesh balance beam. In the beginning, the elderly mice had difficulty, but after four weeks they made fewer mistakes and had similar balance to the younger mice.
Dr Jane Cavanaugh from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, who lead the study, said it appears resveratrol undoes free radical damage and helps cells survive. "Our study suggests that a natural compound like resveratrol could decrease some of the motor deficiencies that are seen in our ageing population," she said.
"And that would therefore increase an ageing person's quality of life and decrease their risk of hospitalisation due to slips and falls,” she added. Despite the positive breakthrough, a 150 pound person would need around 700 small glasses of wine a day to absorb enough resveratrol to get any beneficial effects.
Cavanaugh is investigating how to develop similar manmade drugs that mimic the effects of resveratrol while being more readily absorbed by the body. She is also trying to determine how much resveratrol actually enters the brain. Falls are the leading cause of injury related death among the over 65s. There are currently no treatments to help balance in healthy older adults.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Penfolds Ampoule

At the UK launch of the Penfolds ampoule – one of only 12 worldwide, at the new fine wine emporium Hedonism Wines in Mayfair, I caught up with the brilliantly-titled Ranulf Sessions, fine wine business controller for Treasury Wine Estates, to ask him about the £120,000 wine time capsule, which comes with a promise that Penfolds chief winemaker, Peter Gago will travel anywhere in the world to open it for the buyer. Hope it's not corked...

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Alistair Viner, Hedonism Wines

At the press preview of Hedonism Wines, the cavernous new fine wine temple in Mayfair boasting all five first growths, Pétrus, DRC, Le Pin and Château d'Yquem among many others, I caught up with head buyer Alistair Viner (previously of Harrods) to find out the meaning behind the name, who the shop is aiming to attract, the theatre of large format bottles, and the most expensive wine at Hedonism.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Wasps: a wine lover’s best friend?


Though seeming to cause nothing but annoyance to unassuming innocent bystanders, researchers from Yale University have discovered that wasps and hornets carry the yeast responsible for the fermentation of wine, beer and bread. As reported on db.com, the study, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, found that the yeast can live in the gut of the wasp while it hibernates during winter.
When wasps bite into grapes on the vine, they leave traces of the yeast, known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, behind, which helps start the fermentation process. The researchers used DNA sequencing to analyse the genes of the yeast, tracing them back to the wasp gut. Other insects also carry the yeast, but wasps play a special role as they harbor the yeast during winter and can pass it on to their offspring.
The study found that wasps also introduce other microorganisms to the grapes, which add flavours to the wine. According to Duccio Cavalieri, professor of microbiology at the University of Florence and one of the authors of the study, wine would not taste the same without the yeast left behind. "Wasps are a wine lover’s best friend," said Cavalieri, who comes from a winemaking family in Chianti.

"The study shows it is crucial to look at conservation and the study of biodiversity – everything is linked,” he added. Ancient Romans seem to have known about the role insects play in the winemaking process. They would often plant gardens next to their vineyards to lure wasps and other grape-loving insects to the vines.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Goo Goo Dolls wine to be designed by fans


American soft rockers the Goo Goo Dolls have asked their fans to design the label for their limited-edition wine made in collaboration with Noni Bacca Winery in North Carolina. Unfortunately for Goo Goo devotees, the wine is destined for the band’s private wine collection rather than supermarket shelves, though a number of the bottles will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to youth charity Compass House.
Launched via the band’s fansite AbsoluteGoo.com, the top two designs will be turned into wine labels, which will include the name of the winning artist. Labels must measure 3.33″ by 4″ and must contain the band’s name, but don’t have to be digitally generated – sketches and paintings are being accepted.
Noni Bacca Winery owner Toni Incorvaia secured the collaboration through a long-standing friendship with the band. “We’re all from Buffalo – I used to take the school bus with the band's founder Robby Takac – we were neighbours,” Incorvaia told StarNews. “When they played here at the Azalea Festival I had some souvenir wine bottled for them."
Aspiring artists can submit their label designs to the Noni Bacca Facebook page. The Goo Goo Dolls formed in 1985, and enjoyed commercial success with their 1998 single Iris, written for the soundtrack of the film City of Angels, starring Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan. In 2009, Iris was reported as the fourth-biggest-selling song of the ‘90s on iTunes UK, ahead of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Hedonism Wines

Tomorrow a temple of fine wine opens in London. The Russian-owned Hedonism Wines in Mayfair boasts various vintages of all of the five first growths, along with Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Super Tuscans Sassicaia and Ornellaia, Screaming Eagle, Pétrus, Le Pin and many other of the finest wines available to humanity.




Run by Alistair Viner, Harrods' ex head wine buyer, the most expensive single bottle on sale is Château d'Yquem 1811 at an eye-watering £100,000.  I was lucky enough to be invited to the press launch on Monday night. Descending into the cavernous basement, on catching sight of the giant large format bottles on display, from Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2000 to Château Pichon Baron Longueville 2005, I felt like Alice in Wonderland after she'd imbibed the 'Drink Me' shrinking potion. Hedonism is more Ferrari showroom than fine wine mecca.   



Turning a corner, I stumble across a Surrealist cave filled with sinister hands, from Mickey Mouse gloves to lobster claws gripping the bottles in a scene straight out of a Salvador Dalí and André Breton film, with a little Labyrinth and David Lynch thrown in for good measure. Taking another turn into the unknown, I enter what looks like a forest filled with wine bottles taken captive in the corkscrew-like twisted branches.


Stopping to drink in the curious mise-en-scène, I hear a squeak and watch one of the bottles move of its own accord. It's all very Lord of the Rings – I half expect Frodo Baggins to come bounding in barefoot. Though most of the liquid treasures remain unaffordable to mere mortals, Hedonism is worth a visit for the experience alone. With so many iconic bottles on show – their lusted after labels naked and exposed – it's a wine lover's delight. Go forth and drool...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Julia Child loved fine wine as much as food


Clearly a woman of impeccable taste, American TV chef and author Julia Child was as passionate about fine wine as she was good food, and had a weakness for Château d’Yquem, Chablis, Chambertin and classed growth Bordeaux, db.com has revealed.

Speaking to The Oregonian on the eve of what would have been Child’s centenary on 15 August, close friend and travel companion Pat Pratt said: “Julia had a weakness for Château d'Yquem, especially when served with Grand Marnier soufflé or crème brulée, but she also paired it with foie gras or pâté.”

“We went to visit the château in Bordeaux and were leaning over the well in the center of the courtyard. We both lost our sunglasses down that well,” she added. Child also had a penchant for white Burgundy, and is quoted as saying: "I would happily die with a bottle of white Burgundy in my mouth.” She had a particular fondness for the minerality of Chablis, which she’d pair with lobster and oysters.

A lifelong wine lover, Child is best known for her 1961 debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which features a chapter on wine. Her husband, Paul, was a wine educator who kept well-stocked cellar. Keen to enhance her wine knowledge and improve her tasting skills, Child was a member of Burgundian wine society La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin.

She indulged her passion for wine by visiting vineyards in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italy, Alsace and California. "At every vineyard we visited, Julia and I would always taste one grape from the end of the row. We weren't supposed to, but we did," Pratt told The Oregonian. "When we had really good meals together, I would ask for the label off the bottle,” she added.  

A big Bordeaux lover, Child showed a preference for Château Palmer, Château Lafite and St Emilion Grand Cru Classé Ausone, which she once visited. Despite a love of wine, Child was strict about not indulging while at work – the glasses she raised at the end of her TV shows were filled with coloured water. For her 40th birthday, Child enjoyed roast duck and 1926 Gevrey-Chambertin, and lusted after Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which she only got to drink once.

In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Child recommends Château La Mission Haut-Brion with veal, Corton-Charlemagne with beef, Volnay with brie and Grands-Echézeaux with veal kidneys. A number of events organised by Les Dames d'Escoffier, an international society of professional women in the fields of food, wine and hospitality, are taking place across the US today to honour Child’s centenary.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Usain Bolt treated to £80k Champagne at Movida

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt celebrated his triple Olympic gold medal win in style at the weekend when he was treated to an £80,000 bottle of Champagne on Saturday night after breaking the world record for the 4x100-metre relay. As reported on db.com, a 15l Nebuchadnezzar of Armand de Brignac Champagne, known as Ace of Spades, was brought to Bolt’s table at Movida nightclub in Mayfair.

The bottle, the equivalent of 20 75cl bottles, has a retail price of £80,000. “Usain Bolt was given a Nebuchadnezzar of Armand de Brignac Brut Gold NV,” said Movida spokeswoman Martina Pokorna. The Champagne house only produces one bigger size bottle – the 30-litre, 40-bottle Midas, which has to be ordered in advance at clubs.

Bolt, who scooped three gold medals at the London Olympics, was joined in the VIP area of the club by Jamaican sprinting teammate Yohan Blake, who Bolt affectionately calls “The Beast.” The pair partied with boxer Amir Khan, double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah and swimmer Rebecca Adlington, who picked up a bronze medal in London.

Across town at Chinawhite in Piccadilly, gold medalists have been treated to a cocktail priced at the Olympic sum of £2,012. American swimmer Ryan Lochte and South African swimmer Chad le Clos are among the recipients of the cocktail, which contains Hennessy Paradis Imperial Cognac and Luxor 24-carat gold leaf Champagne. Lying at the bottom of the glass is a pair of 18-carat gold rings.

“The golden cocktail is our special creation, and we have given some away. Every night we have a presentation for the gold medalists, and it has been very well received,” said Chinawhite director James Spallone. On arrival at the club, gold medalists are handed a 75cl gold bottle of Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial. 

Monday, 13 August 2012

Wine milkshakes go on sale in US


In a move that may turn many a stomach, LA burger chain The Counter has added wine milkshakes to its menu. As reported on db.com, the milkshakes, inspired by classic desserts, are being blended at select Counter restaurants across Los Angeles. According to their creator, the wine helps to cut through the sweetness of the shake, with the flavour more milkshake-like to start, but with a wine finish.

The burger chain is offering three flavors: Pinot Noir, featuring cherries, chocolate and vanilla ice cream, Sweet Peach, made using sweet wine, peach nectar and vanilla ice cream, and Mimosa, featuring sparkling white, orange juice and vanilla ice cream.

Perhaps due to the ongoing success of the Santa Barbara-based film Sideways, in which the protagonist Miles extols the virtues of the difficult but rewarding Pinot Noir grape, the Pinot Noir shake is proving the most popular of the trio. The shakes can be found on pour at The Counter restaurants in Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Century City, Toluca Lake, El Segundo, Torrance and Hermosa Beach.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Vin Gogh? Artist creates portraits using red wine


A New York artist has come up with a novel way of making the most of her leftover Cabernet Franc – using it to make portrait paintings. As reported on db.com, using a wax resist, 29-year-old Amelia Fais Harnas pours six to seven layers of red wine on top of white cotton in order to achieve the light and shade effects. To ensure the wine dries quickly, Harnas, an avid wine lover, has to work at around 27°C, rotating between four to six portraits at a time.

She discovered how to make the portraits by melting dead candle remnants in a coffee can over a propane grill and painting the wax resist on cotton bed sheets with an old paintbrush. “The idea of painting with wine developed slowly over a couple of years. I wondered if wine could be used as a pigment for my portraits and started experimenting with Cahors,” she told Solent News. “I'd love to be able to say it happened by accident, where I spilled wine and saw Jesus's face in it, but it really resulted from a series of what-ifs.

“I enjoy the challenge of trying to control the unpredictable nature of wine bleeding through fabric in order to channel the equally imprecise nature of a person’s character,” she added. Her portraits, many of which incorporate religious iconography, have been exhibited in New York galleries and Finger Lakes producer Damiani Wine Cellars, whose Cabernet Franc-based Vino Rosso is almost exclusively used in the portraits due to its deep colour and low residual sugar content.

"I’m intrigued by what effect wine quality will have on the works, and plan on experimenting with all sorts of grape varieties and regions to see how the colour, residual sugar and tannin content affect stain penetration, she told The Huffington Post. As to how long the portraits will last, Harnas is unable to give an accurate answer, though believes their ephemeral nature adds to the intrigue.

"I’m doing everything in my power to ensure they last as long as possible, but part of the excitement is how fragile the works are,” she said. Her works sell for up to £650, depending on their size, with a 20" by 16" portrait requiring just one glass of wine. Harnas plans to move to Paris to work on miniature portraits using French wine.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Osteria Francescana


I’ve gone down the rabbit hole and there’s no telling when, or if, I’ll come out. In front of me is a dish that smells of freshly cut grass. Truffles and toad stalls float in a thick pond of green, their tops covered with what looks like dried basil. An excitable, bespectacled man magics himself to our table. Rubbing his hands with glee, he explains in a faint whisper that the creation is inspired by memories of dawn walks down a dewy northern Italian mountainside, and admits he may have gone too far with the chlorophyll. We’re given a glass to pair with it filled with transparent liquid.

The sommelier mutters something about ginseng. It smells cloud-like and burns in the mouth.Welcome to Osteria Francescana, the three Michelin-starred Modena restaurant of Italian culinary wizard Massimo Bottura, voted the fifth best restaurant in the world at this year’s San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Read on at The Arbuturian to find out why there's more to this lolly than meets the eye...

Thursday, 9 August 2012

El Bulli to auction cellar at Sotheby’s


Gastronomes around the world wept in 2010 on hearing the news that Spanish pleasure dome El Bulli – voted the world’s best restaurant four years in a row – was to close its doors for good in 2011. Now comes the news via Wine-Searcher that the restaurant is to sell off its 10,000-bottle wine cellar at a Sotheby’s auction, though the auction house is remaining tight-lipped about details of the auction until further notice.

The three Michelin-starred restaurant near the town of roses, 160km north of Barcelona, closed its doors last July, having operated at a loss since 2000. It is set to re-open in 2014 as a culinary think tank, where former head chef Ferran Adrià, 50, will investigate and develop new cooking techniques.

The 139-page, 1,600-bin list features wines from classic regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy and Piedmont, alongside cult Californian wines, rare Sherries and Spanish icon wines such as L’Ermita, Pingus, and Vega Sicilia Unico. Compiled by Adrià's business partner Juli Soler, wines ranged in price from €21.40 to €5,350 for Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti 1999. Pétrus 2000 was also on the list for €3,745 a bottle. 

Voted the best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine a record five times, El Bulli pushed the boundaries of contemporary cuisine for more than two decades with its off-the-wall dishes created using molecular gastronomy. Though its popularity came at a cost. With staff fielding more than two million reservation requests a year, the public pressures of running a restaurant influenced Adrià’s decision to close.

“When people bring up the issue of reservations, I have to give some kind of explanation. We created a monster and it was time to find a way to tame it,” he said on announcing the restaurant’s closure. The El Bulli Foundation will grant 20-25 scholarships annually for chefs to spend a year working with Adrià on new creations, the results of which results will be posted online.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Camel Valley

On the second leg of my English wine road trip, Tobias Gorn, head sommelier of Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Tamarind in Mayfair, and I stopped off at Camel Valley in Cornwall, where we were shown around by winemaker Sam Lindo, who talked us through the Camel Valley range. In this video, we try the award-winning Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 2010, and finish up with a wine made from what could become England's flagship white grape: Darnibole Bacchus 2011. Chin chin!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Tomato wine craze sweeps Canada


Thought wine could only be made from grapes? Think again. Quebec-based farmer Pascal Miche is enjoying thriving sales of his tomato wine in Canada, crafted from a secret family recipes. As reported on db.com, the former butcher has sold over 65,000 bottles of tomato wine since launching it onto the Canadian market two years ago.

Miche makes the wine from 6,200 tomato plants on his "vineyard" in Charlevoix, 400km northeast of Montreal. "I wanted to finish what my great-grandfather had started in Belgium in the ’30s,” he told AFP. Miche immigrated to Quebec from Belgium seven years ago and started planting red, yellow and black tomatoes in Charlevoix in 2009.

The crop set to ripen by mid-August will be his third harvest, with the journey from field to bottle taking around nine months. Before making his first batch, Miche tested 16 varieties of tomatoes in order to find six that grew well in Quebec's cool climate. He can legally call his product "wine" in North America, but will have to rename it if he starts exporting it to France, where only alcoholic beverages made from fermented grape juice can be called wine.

Selecting his tomatoes with the same care as a winemaker does grapes, to make the “wine”, the tomatoes undergo the same process of crushing, soaking, fermenting and pressing. The result is Omerto Sec, a clear, dry, 18% abv wine, and Omerto Moelleux, a sweeter wine that has been compared to Pineau des Charentes, both of which are named after Miche’s great-grandfather Omer.

According to Miche, there is no trace of tomato in the wine, not even in the taste. Elen Garon, sommelier at hotel restaurant La Ferme a Baie-Saint-Paul, describes the ”honey sweet” Omerto Moelleux as having: “a hint of fruit” and “zesty aspects,” and believes it will match well with desserts and spicy food.

The wines, which sell for around CA$25 a 200ml bottle, are currently only availabe in select shops and restaurants in Quebec and Manitoba. Keen to take the wine overseas, Miche is seeking distribution in the US, France, Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg and the Netherlands.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Mondavi teams up with Josh Groban


In yet another celebrity/wine hook-up, Robert Mondavi Winery in California is to collaborate with pop singer-turned-actor Josh Groban on an as yet unnamed Napa Valley wine scheduled for release next year. As reported on db.com, the union will also stretch to in-store displays promoting Robert Mondavi wines alongside Groban’s new album, to be released early next year. Downloads of Groban's latest singles will also be made available through the winery’s website.
“Fine wine and the arts are a natural pairing, so collaborating with the people at Mondavi to promote their wines and my upcoming album feels like an organic endeavor,” said Groban. The pop-classical singer recently performed at the winery’s 43rd annual Summer Concert Series, marking the beginning of the collaboration.
“Margrit Mondavi started the tradition of inviting visitors to the Napa Valley to slow down the rush of their daily lives and enjoy great wine, great food and great music. An artist with such talent as Josh, who shares this vision of an enriched life, helps us to communicate that message around the globe,” said estate director Carl Jaeger.
Groban will work closely with director of winemaking, Genevieve Janssens, and winery chef, Jeff Mosher, to combine the winery's values of wine, food, and the arts. The 31-year-old, Los Angeles-born, singer has sold 25 million albums worldwide. Last year, he appeared alongside Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Emma Stone in the film Crazy, Stupid, Love, and in the American version of The Office. 

Friday, 3 August 2012

Ridgeview

During a recent wine road trip, the gregarious Jimmy Smith, aka The Wine Guy, and I stopped off at Ridgeview in East Sussex on the day of the Olympics opening ceremony, to quaff a few of England's finest sparklers, two of which are featured in this video – Ridgeview's flagship fizz Bloomsbury Brut and quirky sparkling red Pimlico. Chin chin!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

English producers need to stop aping Champagne


Sam Lindo, chief winemaker of Camel Valley in Cornwall, has spoken out about English producers’ approach to sparkling wine, claiming too many are trying to ape Champagne. “A lot of English sparkling wine producers are trying to make Champagne by using the same grapes and the same winemaking methods. We should be doing something different,” Lindo told db.com.

“I think we are the only English sparkling wine producer that makes fizz with a flavour profile you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else in the world,” he added. While he uses both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in his sparklers, Lindo also gives prominence to Seyval Blanc, using around 60% in the estate’s flagship Brut. “We should be using grapes best suited to our cool climate, that’s why I work with Seyval Blanc, Bacchus, Reichensteiner, Rondo and Dornfelder,” Lindo said.

Rather than trying to make rich, full-bodied sparklers, Lindo is deliberately aiming for a subtle flavour profile. “Australian wine pioneer Len Evans once said: ‘taste is best enjoyed at the lowest possible level of perception’, and I’m a big believer in that. Big wines tire very quickly – it’s the subtle wines that hold your interest. I want our wines to display an underripe character that reflects their English roots.

“I’m looking for flavours of fruits commonly grown in England: green apple, gooseberry and elderflower in the whites, and strawberry, raspberry and red apple in the rosé,” he said. Lindo, who sells 40% of his wine at the cellar door, said he doesn’t know from year to year what percentage of still wine Camel Valley will make until harvest time. “If we can’t make sparkling wine from the grapes, then we’ll make still wine,” he said.

As for the 2012 vintage, Lindo said that Cornwall had escaped a lot of the heavy rains that have plagued the rest of the country in recent months. “We’ve been really grateful for this recent sunny spell, but it’s impossible to predict the quality of a vintage until harvest time,” he said.