Welsh Pinot Noir blows rivals out of the water
A Welsh vineyard has had praise heaped upon it for its Reserve Pinot Noir, the latest example of the country’s growing winemaking potential.
Think Pinot Noir and it’s likely your mind leaps to the vineyards of Burgundy in France or perhaps the sunny slopes of California or Northern Italy.
It’s less likely to transport you, astrally or otherwise, across the Severn Bridge into Wales. However, this may not be the case for much longer as the country has produced a first-rate Pinot Noir to rival any Pinot anywhere in the world.
The owners of White Castle Vineyards in South Wales scooped up a gold medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards for their Reserve Pinot Noir 2018, following a blind-tasting. And the enormous potential of Welsh wine is expected to be revealed further still at the inaugural English and Welsh Wine Masters competition held by the drinks business later this year.
The award-winning Welsh cuvée is produced from fruit grown in the county of Monmouthshire after the owners planted a block of Pinot Noir in 2009 on a south-facing field. The wine is described as being “deliciously fresh with a lovely cherry red fruit character.”
The wine estate, founded by Robb and Nicola Merchant, a former Royal Mail worker and nurse respectively, is located in the small village of Llanvetherine, population approximately 231, near the popular market town of Abergavenny.
As reported in The Guardian, the couple had never entered a major competition prior to 2021.
“The competition is judged blind so, for us, this win really underpins what we have been striving to do in terms of quality,” Merchant told the newspaper.
More recently, the husband-and-wife duo planted a block of Cabernet Franc on Welsh soil in 2019 and there are high hopes for its results.
Wales’ viticultural map has been expanding significantly over the past decade. In addition to Llanerch Vineyards, which was founded in 1980, and White Castle Vineyards, the nation welcomed both Montgomery Vineyards and Gwinllan Conwy Vineyard in 2012.
In recognition of the rising quality of still wines being produced in England and Wales, db launched its inaugural English and Welsh Wine Masters competition in March this year.
The event will take place on Friday 1 October, and entrants will be judged by a panel of Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and senior buyers as they compete for the ultimate accolade – the award of a ‘Master’ in recognition of world-class terroir and winemaking.