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English vineyard set for first ‘terroir’ designation

Camel Valley Vineyards in Cornwall has submitted the UK's first single grower application for Protected Designation of Origin status.

Darnibole: ‘steely minerality’

Camel Valley Vineyards has applied for a PDO for the 1.5ha Darnibole vineyard, whose ancient slate subsoil owner Bob Lindo considers produces a uniquely different style of the Bacchus grape.

Bacchus is widely used in the production of English white still wine, but Darnibole Bacchus, Lindo told Decanter.com, ‘tastes different to generic Bacchus. It stands out for its intense, steely minerality and its restrained nose.’

The wine has won numerous awards and is served with the tasting menu at the two-Michelin starred restaurant Nathan Outlaw.

In order to be designated Darnibole Vineyard, wines will have to be 100% Bacchus with no acidification or de-acidification, no sweetening and with a higher natural alcohol.

Grapes must be hand-picked, must be made at the adjoining Camel Valley winery and most importantly, Lindo said, it must be compared with previous vintages to ensure typicity.

‘We are trying to produce a terroir wine, one that it absolutely vintage specific,’ he said.

The application process for PDO status, to the EU through the Department for Energy, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), is likely to take at least until 2014, Lindo said.

England as a whole is a still wine PDO, but there are no other PDOs of a similar size to Darnibole in the UK.

Once it is approved, Lindo will be able to call his wines ‘Darnibole Quality Wine’ with no requirement to include the word ‘English’ on the label.

Camel Valley wines have won medals at the Decanter World Wine Awards every year since 2006. In 2009 Camel Valley won eight medals, including gold for its white Pinot 2005.

Simon Field MW at Berry Brothers, which lists Darnibole Bacchus, praises it for its ‘inherent complexity’.

‘Cornwall clearly aspires to the style of the wines of the Loire, and Bacchus seems to be the varietal set to lead the charge.’

Written by Adam Lechmere

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