Iechyd da! Welsh pinot noir scoops prestigious world wine award
A Welsh pinot noir has scooped a prestigious world wine award.
The red wine from Monmouthshire’s White Castle Vineyard, has become the first Welsh vintage to win a gold medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA).
The pinot noir reserve 2018, which has been described as “deliciously fresh” by DWWA co-chair Sarah Jane Evans, costs £25.50 a bottle.
Former Royal Mail worker Robb Merchant, who runs the vineyard with his wife, Nicola, a retired nurse, said the win as “fantastic” for the vineyard which he says was his “wife’s dream” to establish.
He told The Guardian: “This is the biggest prize we have ever won. This is the first time we have entered the Decanter awards. It is judged blind so, for us, this win really underpins what we have been striving to do in terms of quality.”
DWWA co-chair Sarah Jane Evans said: “It has got a lovely cherry red fruit character. It’s a really elegant, fresh wine. It’s delicious and the fact it comes from Wales is a bonus.
“We’re used to the UK making white wines but what is interesting is they have made a red wine, which people have always said with the UK climate was impossible.”
According to Evans, gold medals are not easy to win, with winning wines having had to “stand up on their own two feet” against competition from all over the world.
Judges tasted more than 18,000 wines from 56 countries, and the competition awarded 635 gold medals.
According to Marchant the couple bought a field next to their smallholding in 2008 and planted 4,000 vines the following year, which has since expanded to 7,000 vines which produce 10,000 bottles a year.
He says they plan to build on their success by expanding the business and he has urged people to experiment with Welsh wine: “Try it. Go and visit the vineyards and taste the wines because you’ll taste some exceptional wines.”
The Scottish industrialist Lord Bute is credited with planting the first commercial Welsh vineyard at Castell Coch, Cardiff, in 1875.
Today there are 31 vineyards growing across the country with more than 20 different grape varieties. There are also a number of wine trails.