Whilst camping in the depths of West Cornwall over the bank holiday weekend, we visited Polgoon Vineyard for their “Ultimate Wine Experience Day.” Saturday 25th May marked the start of English Wine Week 2019 and this was a great way to kick things off. Our group was eclectic; some were strong advocates for English Wine, others knew a little, and some knew absolutely nothing about the industry. With this varied amount of knowledge between us, we were interested to see how the Polgoon team would approach the day and impart their wine-wisdom.
Upon arrival, we were greeted with a plate of pastries and a cafetiere of fresh coffee. These tasty treats provided a great opportunity to sit down, relax and meet others who were excited to learn about English wine and develop an understanding of the industry. It wasn’t long before owner and winemaker John Coulson came to greet us and lead a tour of the orchard and vineyard, warmed up by some much appreciated bank holiday sunshine. John has a very refreshing approach to wine tours; he is always extremely humble and honest about how hard it is to grow vines in West Cornwall. The tour was informative and as we walked amongst the vines John answered questions passionately. This is why we love getting to know the hard working teams behind the labels of English Wine; their dedication and pride always shines through.
Once we returned to the tasting area, we had the pleasure of meeting Nigel Ede from Experience Wine. With significant experience in the wine industry (predominantly as a buyer), Nigel was the perfect man to teach the basics of blind tasting. In pairs, one of us was blindfolded whilst our partner gave us six different tumblers containing a selection of different aromas. Ranging from lime to earth and raspberries to honey, we had our noses put to the test - not something that happens on a daily basis! We were then presented with an array of wines and were taught how to break them down into different profiles. This later helped us make informed decisions on why (or why not) we enjoyed different wines.
An incredible spread of Cornish produce arrived at our tables, along with our Polgoon Wine Guru, Emma (John and Kim Coulson’s daughter). Lunch was a brilliant mix of platters, including fresh Newlyn Crab sandwiches, Cornish cheese, Cornish charcuterie, and new potatoes with chorizo, followed by a healthy portion of “Polgoon Mess.” Emma did a brilliant job of presenting a selection of Polgoon wines, paired expertly with each course.
Following our Cornish feast, we were guided to the winery to learn how Polgoon process their fruit and craft their wines. We enjoyed a refreshing glass of their Sparkling Pinot Noir whilst we learnt about the production of these wines. Having served this popular wine at our tasting events, we were not surprised by the positive reaction from our group. We then had the rare opportunity to taste the 2018 wines straight from tank - a luxury to anybody that’s not in the industry. The wines in tank were still in their raw form but showed some exciting potential, giving a wonderful insight into the success of the 2018 English Vintage.
We ended the day learning about wine and food pairing with Nigel. From showcasing your skills to friends, or just enjoying a meal for one, we learned how a basic knowledge of pairing can enhance any meal. Each wine we sampled was tasted alongside a different food group to appreciate how wine can improve (or not improve!) food. Nigel’s wealth of experience within the restaurant trade was a great asset as he led us through four different wines.
Our day was an all round success (plus amazing value for money). We were kindly gifted a booklet including everything we had learnt throughout the day. Regardless of our prior English Wine knowledge, each one of us came away from the experience having discovered something new. If you’re in Cornwall, or looking for the perfect wine day out, head down to Polgoon Vineyard for their next “Ultimate Wine Experience Day”. As well as a great day out, we left having made new friends as well as sporting a proper Cornish sun tan. Thank you to John, Kim, Emma and the Polgoon team, as well as Nigel from Experience Wine for a brilliant day.
Find out more by following the link below.
The next event is on the 22nd of June.