Welsh Wine, yes Welsh wine at it’s best – and its delicious!

White Castle Vineyard Ltd
Llanvetherine,
Abergavenny,
Monmouthshire.
NP7 8RA

White Castle Vineyard is owned by Robb & Nicola Merchant and is situated in the beautiful rolling countryside of Monmouthshire in the village of Llanvetherine – Southern Wales. The 5-acre vineyard is planted on a south-facing slope that is ideal for growing vines and ripening grapes for this part of the country. Usually northern hemisphere vineyards need SE facing. Currently, in the UK we have close to 400 producers with 27 in Wales (2 even in Scotland)

Robb and Nicola
View down to the Barn from the vineyard

Most of the vineyards in Wales have an area just under 1 x rugby pitch size (1ha) for their vines. Whitecastle has just under double that. Not a big size by modern day standards but a great feat considering the attention it has received in recent years. Its reputation has been steadily increasing largely due to supplying major supermarket/s and producing some pretty good wines!

As well as tending to the vines Rob has also been busy restoring a 16th century Croft Barn with Lottery Funding. Seems he never stops!

After exhaustive research into vineyard management the owners decided on the most suitable grape varieties for growing and after farming the land and planting the vines the first harvest was available in September 2011 two and a half years from the initial planting (2008) 

The first harvest gained the vineyard Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) from Wine Standards, allowing the produce to be labeled Welsh Quality Wine. This is the top standard for UK wine and a great accolade for a 1styear of production.

WANT TO KNOW More. I can send you a fact-sheet about the quality control of wine. Email me thegrapewizard@gmail.com

When the vineyard reaches full production it should have the capacity to produce 12,000 bottles of wine a year, including sparkling wines.

Here is just a selection of wines from the vineyard.

Fortified Wine 1581 £25.00

Grape: REGENT

Tasting notes

Fortified wine. Deep Ruby in colour with a fragrant brambly aromas. The palette is Rich, round and smooth

Pair with Cheese, after dinner or alongside dessert.

Pinot Noir Reserve 2016 £25 

Grape: Pinot Noir 

Light and ruby coloured with a hint of vanilla, red currants and red cherries on the nose. On the palette is a big smack of blackberry and smoky vanilla

Pair with lamb, fish or pasta – might even suit Carpaccio of Ostrich!

WHITE WINE 

Gwin Gwyn 2017 £15

Grape: Phoenix and Siegerrebe 

A gentle “sniffy sniff” on the wine immerses yourself into a glass of floral elderflower with ripe citrus fruits.

Lemons
Elderflower

Pair with shellfish such as oyster’s prawns lobster and any fish with a hard back!!

Sparkling white 2015 £30.00 

Grape: Phoenix 

An elegant Brut made in the Champagne style. On the nose it has hints of elderflower and gooseberry. A delicate mousse worthy of a champagne house Biscuity aromas 

Pairing: most appetizers. Try it with fish and light. Toast with it before or after a meal. 

ROSE 

Rose 2013 £13.50

Grape:  Pinot Noir, Rondo and Siegerrebe 

Dry delicate rose with a hint of strawberry and summer fruits. Good acidity and very refreshing.

Perfect for a summer party on a hot summers day. This is a fabulous aperitif that can be enjoyed all year round 

Whitecastle also offers an option for members to plant One option for members is to plant a vine scheme. You can choose 1 of 5 grape varieties for 12 months. Rewards include: a personal certificate of adoption with a plaque with your chosen name placed on the vine. A tour of the vineyard for 2 people included with a glass of wine. An invite to the harvest to handpick the grapes, and a bottle from your adopted vine to take home. A great service and a revenue steam that will prove invaluable if an operation like this is to survive

2018 has seen an unprecedented year for yields on UK vineyards . This has been an exceptional year. Near perfect growing conditions created a bumper harvest. Whitecastle was no different . Harvest was on 27thSeptember with high yields and lasted till 21stOctober. Should be an interesting next 12 months  for the vineyard !

Both Robb and Nicola have been nominated for a few awards, this year, most notably The Rural Business Awards for Wales and Northern Ireland 2018 and were one of the finalists in the Best Rural Drink Business.

It is fabulous to see a UK vineyard and more importantly a Welsh one doing so well in the marketplace. It is testament to the hard work and dedication that all producers put in to produce a product that 10 years ago would have been ridiculed. Robb and Nicola are passionate about this venture and when I saw Robb at the WineGB event, showcasing his wine, he was very personable and spent an inordinate amount of time talking to me. I know this vineyard will go from strength to strength. The varietals may not be to everyone’s taste and consumers may not know what Rondo and Siegerrebe are but they are delicate and balanced. Think of Rondo as an alternative Pinot Noir.

To learn more please go to either www.whitecastlevinyard.com or visit my website (www.thegrapewizard.com) email me thegrapewizard@gmail.comand ask me any questions. Sign up if you want to receive an article every-time I post.

Photos courtesy of Whitecastle vineyard

Welsh vineyards – The hidden gems ! 

Just look how beautiful the set of photos are  – highlighting almost every single welsh vineyard in the UK

On the quest for an unstuffy world i thought how could i make this topic of Welsh wine unstuffy. I thought I would highlight  rather than state facts.

So over a period of weeks if you would like me to talk about anything – let me know. This will grow organically

EMAIL ME !!!

thegrapewizard@gmail.com

 

IMG_5321

That’s me folks !!!!

Of course i cant speak from authority if the following are not true

1. I am Welsh (born in St. Asaph 13th August 19…)

2. A passion for everything Welsh

3.  Not been on Holiday to my homeland more than once

All are true

We have great producers producing award winning wines.

Indeed some producers don’t rely on the obvious varietals (grapes) to increase their revenue. They work with what they know will grow according  to the climate and the terroir

Grape Varieties Grown in Wales

welshdragon

SEYVAL BLANC (White Grape)
crops heavily even in the most unfavourable of summers and has effective disease resistance. It is a good ”˜all rounder’ and is often used for blending –  well suited to oak ageing and used for still or sparkling wines. Can produce a neutral white wine with crisp acidity.

TRIOMPHE (Red Grape)
French hybrid. Very vigorous in growth and disease resistant. Produces close knit bunches of small red grapes which give a dark red juice – flavours of strawberries and blackcurrants.

BACCHUS (White Grape)
Bacchus is considered to be one of the best grape varieties of Wales and in 2003 was the third most widely planted grape in the UK. Its grapes are intense and aromatic, with high sugar content. Bacchus wines age well and develop interesting flavours.

KERNLING (Red Skinned Grape with White Flesh)
produces a typical Germanic-style white wine with high acidity.

HUXELREBE (White Grape)
 Huxelrebe produces large tightly packed bunches of grapes which produce a pleasant medium wine It has a high natural acidity and strong aromas of elderflowers, producing very fruity wines that age well.

REICHENSTEINER (White Grape)
this German variety ripens early and regular cropper producing grapes with good sugar levels. It is reliable but a little neutral and is often used for blending in both still and sparkling wines, having good sugar levels.

SIEGERREBE (White Grape)
A small berried and intensely aromatic variety. It is often used to bolster blended wines and a few growers use it as a varietal in its own right

MADELEINE ANGEVINE (White Grape)
It flowers late and crops early. It is useful for blending since it ages well and its relative low acidity will blend well with higher acid varieties. On its own it produces wines that are light and fruity with a pronounced muscat bouquet.

 

Vineyards of Wales – some not included as is neither a commercial business or not enough information is known

  • Pant Du Vineyard
    Pant Du Vineyard and Orchard has been planted on the south facing glacial slopes of the beautiful Nantlle Valley.Selling wine, cider, apple juice, and spring water, it’s a family-run business with a café on site. Tours, private parties and wine tastings are available. www.pantdu.co.uk
  • Tŷ Croes Vineyard   The vineyard covers two and a half acres of vines that have now been turned into delicious Welsh wines. Producing white wines from Phoenix and Seyval Blanc, and Rondo which is red, you can pop in for a tour of the vineyard and you can have a tipple tasting too.  www.tycroesvineyard.co.uk
  • Penarth Vineyard
    Situated on a unique riverside location in Powys, they say their Welsh wine is unique because they grow varieties which are believed to be unsuitable for the climate, yet the grapes face the elements giving them a richness of flavour and depth of character.  You can make an appointment to visit the vineyard, or visit, Quince’s, their delicatessen in Newtown, to sample their wine, or indulge in chocolates and local produce.www.penarthvineyard.co.uk
  • Kerry Vale Vineyard
    Planted in 2010, the vineyard covers six acres of farmland in Churchstoke. The land it’s situated on was once part of the ancient Roman site of Pentreheyling Fort, and pottery found on the site is displayed in the vineyard shop.You can visit the vineyard for tours from June to September, scheduled for every Saturday and Sunday throughout the season, plus bank holidays and occasional midweek times. They also take bookings for group tours at other times by special arrangement. www.kerryvalevineyard.co.uk
  • Llaethliw Vineyard
    A new, family run vineyard, the first grapes were picked in October of 2013 and the first 2000 bottles of white, red and rosé came in May 2014.  Llaethliw Vineyard is situated on the coastal plain at the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains in Neuaddlwyd, Aberaeron, on the West Coast of Wales.The winery, shop and café/restaurant are under development.www.llaethliw.co.uk
  • Jabajak Vineyard
    Previously a working farm and stables Jabajak has been converted and restored into a restaurant with bed and breakfast accommodation, set within a vineyard. Self guided, guided and private tailored tours available, including cellar door and lounge tastings.www.jabajak.co.uk
  • Cwm Deri Vineyard
    A working smallholding which first opened to the public in 1992, Cwm Deri is surrounded by the Pembrokeshire National Park.  Taste their wines and liqueurs and sample home-cooked food in the conservatory restaurant.www.cwm-deri.co.uk
  • Meadow View Vineyard
    Benefitting from the rich clay loams of the Vale of Glamorgan and the relatively frost free environment, Gwin y Fro (Wine of the Vale) is produced from grapes grown at the family-run vineyard. Vineyard tours by appointment only.
    www.meadowviewvineyard.co.uk

So the Total Hectares of Welsh Vineyards is 34.72 or 34 football pitchs

with 26 Vineyards.

Some are not listed here as there is not enough information but this brings me onto my next point. This is a blog first.

It is going to be interactive.

I have highlighted grapes, vineyards and size . What I would like readers to do is ask me any questions about any information above or if you would like to know something else let me know.

796312_a_glyndwr-white

Waitrose cellar £11.99 Glyndwr White

 

email me !!!

 

thegrapewizard@gmail.com

 

Music Pairing

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