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Camel Valley Bacchus 2011

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Color: White
Varietal: Bacchus
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Camel Valley Vineyard:
I’d heard of Camel Valley Winery’s reputation (award winning sparklers) since I first moved out of Cornwall over a decade ago. I was glad after all this time to get the chance to visit and meet Bob and Sam Lindo, the father and son winemaking team. Camel Valley was started in 1989 with 8,000 vines. They added 4,000 vines in 2002 and another 12,000 in 2005. However, even with 20k vines under ma... Read more
I’d heard of Camel Valley Winery’s reputation (award winning sparklers) since I first moved out of Cornwall over a decade ago. I was glad after all this time to get the chance to visit and meet Bob and Sam Lindo, the father and son winemaking team. Camel Valley was started in 1989 with 8,000 vines. They added 4,000 vines in 2002 and another 12,000 in 2005. However, even with 20k vines under management, they still get 2/3rds of their grapes from other vineyards around the UK – this gives them some defense against a poor harvest and allows them to choose the ripest grapes from around the country. Total production is around 90,000 bottles. They grow an eclectic mix of hardy, cool climate, early ripening grapes, including Bacchus, Triomphe, Dornfelder, Rondo, Pinot Noir, Dornfelder, Seyval, Huxel and Reissersteiner. When I asked how they figured out why these grapes would work well in the English climate, Sam said that they are all commonly grown in Germany, which is one of the Northernmost wine regions in the world. I also asked when they first realized that the region could produce good Sparkling wines, and Sam told me that they used to make still (acidic) wines, and one year the harvest was particularly lean, the grapes under ripe, and not destined for greatness, so they decided to go ‘bubbly’, and haven’t looked back. Champagne and sparkling wines are known for their high acidity and make extremely tart, puckering, still wines, so it makes perfect sense. The cool climate means that the grapes take a long time to ripen, and in some cases, although the grapes reach “ripeness”, they are never “ripe” by warmer regions standards (ie. no phenolic ripeness). The long hang times mean that the grapes are picked in October, and give a meager 2 tonnes per acre yield. That’s comparable to Burgundy Grand Cru, and typical vineyards harvest 6-8 tonnes per acre for table wines. Read less

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