If you saw my last post then you’ll know I’m extremely excited to have discovered the world of Welsh wine! And now, with the launch of Welsh Wine Week (27 July – 2 August 2020), it’s time for you to set off on your own exploration through the terroir of “God’s country”.
Here’s a little bit more info about Welsh Wine Week and a few recommendations on some beautiful Welsh wines to stock up on and dig into!
But wait… What? Wine? In Wales!?
I know! I was as surprised as anyone, but it’s true!
There are currently around 30 vineyards in Wales, planted mainly in the late 1970s, with local producers creating a wide range of high quality wines. I’m proud and excited to say that Welsh wine is very much the real deal.
The Welsh wine industry is a small affair, of course, because Wales is a very small country. But being small is a big strength in the wine world.
It means Welsh vineyard owners are less likely to be lured by the easy fortunes of mass production and more inclined to focus on ‘low volume, high quality’ wines.
It also means they can employ more sustainable growing techniques and produce world-class organic and biodynamic wines, which I can assure you is a very, very good thing.
Recommended Welsh Wines to Taste During Welsh Wine Week (27 July – 2 Aug 2020)
I was fortunate enough to be invited to Velfrey Vineyard in beautiful Pembrokeshire, West Wales, to taste eight quality local wines.
I can confidently recommend them all – definitely something for all tastes – although (spoiler alert) I particularly loved the Bacchus white by Tintern Parva, the Renaissance white by Pen-Y-Clawdd Vineyard, and the two White House wines (white and sparkling) from Jabajak Vineyard (links below to where you can buy them).
Anyhow, here are the eight Welsh wines I tasted and would like to recommend!
Renaissance White by Pen-Y-Clawdd Vineyard, 2018
Satisfyingly dry and crisp, this was another firm favourite of mine – made from Reichensteiner, Phoenix and Schönburger grapes. Exactly the sort of wine you want on a hot sunny day in the garden and/or with lunch. A delicate delight that I can’t wait to try again.
The White House Blush Sparkling by Jabajak Vineyard, 2014
A stunning sparkling rosé made with hand-picked Seyval and Phoenix grapes. This really is a beautiful wine and my favourite of the sparkling varieties I tasted (though they were all excellent to be fair).
A real summer sparkler with lots of strawberry notes and a lovely dry finish. Perfect for a picnic!
The White House White by Jabajak Vineyard, 2014
Elegantly crisp and clean, this is one of those fail-safe white wines that you can depend on to impress and delight your guests, whether you’re hosting dinner or enjoying a bottle with friends in the garden. Can’t wait to get my hands on more of this!
Bacchus White by Tintern Parva, 2017
Bacchus wines seem to be quite popular here in the UK and are often compared to Sauvignon Blanc varieties. I really enjoyed this and can very much imagine enjoying it going down beautiful with some fresh seafood on a sunny day by the sea. Fruity, well rounded and with subtle hints of elderflower. This is the wine that has lingered with me, the one I’m most curious about.
Llaethliw Red by Gwinllan Llaethliw Vineyard, 2018
A vibrant and youthful red with silky smooth tannins and lots of dark fruit aromas. If you love Beaujolais wine then you’ll love this. Ever so slightly on the sweet side for my personal taste, but I still enjoyed it very much. Excited to see that we can produce reds in Wales as well as whites and sparkling wines!
Rhosliw Pefriog Sparkling by Gwinllan Conwy Vineyard, 2018
Light and refreshing with beautiful hints of red fruits – this is elegant enough to impress connoisseurs and most certainly one that regular fizz drinkers with go ga-ga for. Bloody lovely. I’m very keen to try their other wines as they sound equally as fantastic.
Orange Wine by Ancre Hill Estates, 2018
A visually striking orange Albariño wine with that lovely grunty bite you get with good organic/bio dynamic wines. A fun wine to try as part of tasting, and definitely one to to play around with if you enjoy food pairings.
Chardonnay, Ancre Hill Estates, 2018
A really fresh and green organic white with a nice crispness and zesty hints of apple and lemon. Reminded me very much of the natural wines I love so much from Catalunya (particularly Alella).Very nice indeed.
Make it Happen
Stock up up some of these beautiful wines and get involved in Welsh Wine Week!
Viader Vintners Wine Merchants are offering a mixed case Welsh wines – with 6 of the above wines (unfortunately it doesn’t include the beautiful White House wines from Jabajak) – see below.
Visit the Vineyards of Wales Yourself
You can also visit many of the vineyards in Wales for tours and wine tasting sessions.
I’m also very excited to hear that some also have ‘vineyard/wine hotels’ onsite, so you can stay and sip and eat in style (see the links below). With a bit of luck I’ll be able to publish full features about these in the near future!
Have you tried any Welsh wines? What were your thoughts? Any recommendations?