Cornwall #4 – Knightor Wines – thank you Twitter
Thanks to Twitter, today I made a brilliant discovery. I tweeted that I was on my way to Cornwall and Paul Howard (@WineAlchemy1) suggested I should try Knightor Winery so I got in touch with the wine maker, James Thomas, via Twitter (@Knightor_wine) and arranged a visit. Paul – thank you so much, it was a revelation!
James showed us around his very new and very modern winery and talked with great passion about his trade. He was brought up on the Isles of Scilly, where he helped his Dad grow grapes and make wine (apparently his Dad does some “funky stuff” with Seyval!). But James’ love was sailing and the sea, and it wasn’t until he went to Australia on a surfing holiday that he realised that his future was in making wine. And we should count ourselves lucky that he has found his true calling.
What I really enjoyed was listening to James’ philosophy – he wants to get the most out of the grapes he has available to him. James is a big believer in terroir but admits he doesn’t know his terroir yet – 2011 was his first vintage – so he wants to make the best wine possible and show the grapes off to the best of his ability… And what a great job he’s already doing…
We crossed the courtyard to the very attractive restaurant/bar, where we tasted 2 finished wines from the 2011 vintage, along with a third wine that James will be bottling next week. The plans for Knightor are very exciting and I look forward to savouring a wider range in the future, but there’s already plenty to enjoy:
Knightor Madeleine Angevine 2011 (£12.50)
100% Madeline Angevine
This is a brilliantly bright and fresh wine with a citrusy, salty aroma, as well as the more familiar elderflower note. There is a bright streak of acid which perfectly balances the citrus, especially lime fruit and a wonderful savoury, dry finish, a result of some time on its lees. Oysters sprang to mind when I tasted this but also a sunny afternoon in the garden. This really is one of the best English wines I have tried. Brilliant. 91 points
Knightor Trevannion 2011(£15.00)
Blend of Siergerrebe, Pinot Blanc & Pinot Gris
Siergerrebe is certainly a new one on me! A cross of Gewertztraminer and Madeleine Angevine. This is a very aromatic wine, with aromas of lychees and citrus, with a very Alsatian touch of spice. There is a delicious richness but also racy acidity on the palate, with lots of citrus and a delicious hint of mandarin. Another belter. 90 points
Knightor Pinot Gris 2011 (tank sample)
Whereas the wines above go straight into stainless steel, 50% of this wine has spent some time in oak – secured from Smith Haute Laffite no less! Much richer as a result and very complex. There is pear, apple and grapefruit in the nose which follows onto the palate but there is also a fragrant spicy note and a wonderfully long and dry finish. I can’t wait for this to be released later this year. 91 points