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Scotland’s first wine ‘not great’

The makers of Scotland’s first commercial home-grown wine are hoping for better luck next year after the first vintage turned out to be oxidised.

Château Largo in Fife is the brainchild of former chef and food writer, Christopher Trotter (pictured), who planted the vines three years ago in a bid to create Scotland’s first commercial winery.

Using the early-ripening Solaris and Siegerrebe, he has hoped to take advantage of warmer summers in recent years but had to admit that the first vintage (bottled late last year) hadn’t been a success.

“It’s not great,” he admitted to The Scotsman. “We have produced a vintage of, shall we say, a certain quality, but I am confident the next time will be much better.”

He added that his mistake was not chilling the grapes quickly enough after harvesting, which meant the fruit began to oxidise and made the resulting wine Sherry-like in flavour. For this year’s harvest he intends to use dry ice to help preserve the grapes and their fruit characters.

Richard Meadows, owner of Edinburgh-based Great Grog Company, was among those members of the trade who got an advance taste of the wine said it wasn’t particularly drinkable but did have “potential”.

“It doesn’t smell fresh but it’s crisp and light and structurally it’s fine,” he told The Scotsman.

He added that he had enjoyed it, in a rather “masochistic” sort of way and that it might complement a (“very”) strong cheese.

Despite the reverse, Trotter remained upbeat saying his wine would “never be like Chablis” but that he continued to believe making a “good-quality table wine” was still possible and that this year’s spring had been “terrific” and the vines were looking “fantastic”.

Trotter may be aiming to make a commercial success of his vineyard but he is not the only person in Scotland making wine, nor the most northerly. Up in the Outer Hebrides a teetotal former-missionary, Donald Hope, is making wine from some 20 Black Muscat vines he grows in his greenhouse in South Dell.

Most of the grapes are sold as fruit but a certain amount is held back and turned into wine if the crop is good. Although 10% to 12% is the maximum alcohol reached, its potency is considerable. Hope said that one customer drank a bottle and had a hangover “for three days.”

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