Few oenophiles can have missed the revival of English winemaking in recent years, which has led to an increase in both production and prestige. As you might expect from the nation’s mildest county, Cornwall has been busy taking its place among the new wave of vineyards. One of the newest is two-yearold Knightor, a winery and restaurant in the heart of china clay country near St Austell, whose 17,000 vines are planted in several locations along the south coast of Cornwall.
Keen to create a destination for dining as well as wine tasting, the owners of Knightor chose a handsome collection of historic granite farm buildings arranged around a sunny courtyard in which to realise their vision. Enviably located just one mile from the Eden Project, the restaurant occupies a renovated threshing barn with wine-red windows and a light and lofty beamed interior.
Comfortable high-backed chairs, candles and red linen napkins create a sense of occasion, but this is also a very approachable spot: lunch set menus are reasonably priced at £9.95 for two courses, £10.95 for three, and the service is down to earth with families made welcome. Italian head chef Angelo Bruno oversees a menu that might best be described as Mediterranean in inspiration with plenty of risotto, pasta and fresh herbs. The sourcing meanwhile is keenly Cornish, so expect fresh local seafood such as pilchards, sea bass and crab, and locally reared meats.
The wine list warrants exploration, starting of course with Knightor’s own two whites – the madeleine angevine 2011 and Trevannion 2011 – both served by the glass. The former is a crisp, subtly fragrant experience recalling English early summer flavours of gooseberry and elderflower which makes a fine aperitif, while the latter offers a fuller, more complex aromatic arrangement.
In season, make an afternoon of it by taking a tour of the winery and Knightor’s sample vines – wine aficionados should book the tour with the winemaker, James Thomas. Look out too for Knightor’s first sparkling wine, due to be uncorked in summer 2013. IA
Published on February 18, 2013.