Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Welsh Wine in London

There is always a first time for everything and today is my first time at a Welsh wine tasting event. In fact it is probably the first time that any Welsh wine is going to pass through my lips and land on my curious taste buds.

Welcome to the Welsh Centre of London for an event organized by Levercliff.

There are some 50 vineyards in Wales, more than I would ever have imagined given the fact that this part of the UK lies at a very peripheral region of wine making, around 50 degrees north of latitude. 

Yet over 20 varieties are grown and some £10 million worth of wine are produced each year, and rising.

Below are my tasting notes for today. In general, I found these Welsh wines tend to be ready to drink rather young. This of course could be an advantage for both producers and consumers, but on the other hand it might mean less potential for evolution in the bottle.

I am surprised because at these cold latitudes I would have expected more acidity and dryer wines.

Maybe less surprisingly, and more similarly to what happens in England, whites were generally better than reds. And quite a few good bubbles.

Another point to note is that prices are not cheap. Good news for the producers that they can command mid-range prices for most of their wines and decidedly high prices for some, as I indicated below.

Finally, many wines had very low abv. I can only suppose the scarcity of sugar in the berries means less alcohol could be produced before fermentation stopped, for whatever reason.

Seyval blanc sparkling
seyval 100%
A fragrant and balanced bubbly, perhaps because of its 18 months on lees. RRP £ 35. Score 89

Pinot noir and seyval blanc 2022
Only 11% abv, a smooth velvety wine. RRP 21. Score 89

Seyval blanc/pinot noir 2022
18 months on lees produce an intense and long bubbly, very balanced with a touch of sweet at the end. RRP £35, Score 88

seyval blanc/pinot noir 2021
A complex and long sparkling wine, 24 months on lees. RRP £42. Score 91

seyval blanc 2022
Natural fermentation and lees stirring, no filtering and no fining make for an opaque wine with an intriguing bitter touch. RRP 25. Score 90

White Still Gwin Gwyn 2023
Phoenix (80) and seyval blanc (20)
An intense wine with moderate complexity, good balance and length. RRP 24. Score 89

White still 2023
Siegerrebe 100%
Complex, long, balanced. RRP 24. Score 88.

Do you want to practice your Welsh?

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