On the way down to Cornwall at the weekend we stopped for one of these. Also some Camel Valley English sparkling wine. Of course. As we were staying near Polkerris we also picked up a DVD of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. No sweeping Cornish scenery on that, sadly – just studio cut-outs and very uptight accents (“I’m esking you to merry me, you little fool,”) – though I was so psyched out by the chilling figure cut by Judith Anderson’s black-dressed Mrs Danvers I had to do a thorough room inspection – wardrobes, behind the curtains, wardrobes again, hide all the matches – before going to bed.
The wine was also a triumph. There were going to be six of us at dinner on Sunday so I picked up a couple of bottles of the 2012 Camel Valley Rosé Brut, a pale pink sparkling wine made near Bodmin using 100% pinot noir. 2012 is an interesting one for wine in England. We had a particularly lousy summer (I speak as someone who has been sitting on a beach this week in a North Face cagoule and thermal top), with wind and rain coming at all the worst times for vines. It was so bad that some vineyards – most famously, Nyetimber – took the difficult decision not to pick any grapes at all and lose the entire year’s income. Others had to be grateful for tiny harvests, with yields a mere fraction of what they might reasonably have expected. Pretty dramatic stuff. The Lindo family at Camel Valley seemed to be going out on a limb when they insisted, on twitter and in person, that they had bunches of good, healthy grapes. I remember Bob Lindo quite crossly saying he’d like to have a conversation with people about the “catastrophe” of 2012 when they were actually drinking his wine. Well, here it is. I have been drinking it and it’s completely delicious – like a wild cherry blossom nose-kiss. A triumph, worth every penny of the £28ish price tag (don’t ask me for stockists – I’ll have to say JFGI as I’m on a wifi that’s blocking access to alcohol websites, kinda tricky when it comes to work).