Episode 62 – 2nd June 2021
Welsh Wine Week – 4th – 13th June
Welsh Wine Week starts this Friday and I urge everyone to do their bit to support this niche industry and grab a bottle. I haven’t tasted many Welsh wines recently, but I can always rely on Montgomery and White Castle to keep me up to date with their new releases and there are no less than six wines that have caught my eye this year.
White Castle Vineyard
2017 White Castle Vineyard, Sparkling Brut £30.00
Made from Phoenix (a cross between Bacchus and the hybrid grape Villard Blanc) and Seyval Blanc (another hybrid), this is an impressive sparkler with white flower and hedgerow notes on the nose, a juicy-fruit mid-palate and a zesty, tangy finish. There is no doubt that while White Castle is renowned for its red wines, this sparkler is the finest they have made to date.
NV White Castle Vineyard, Harry Rondo £22.00
Rondo is a hybrid red grape variety made by crossing Zarya Severa (a hybrid itself that has Vitis amurensis in its makeup) and St. Laurent. Useful in cool climates, it is an early maturing variety with high resistance against winter frost and downy mildew and this makes it a pretty useful grape in the UK. With a kiss of French oak in the mix, this is a bold style with nice, briary fruit and impressive colour. What makes it rather intriguing is that it is not as heavy as expected. Medium-weight and lightly spicy this is a rewarding wine and it is certainly one of the tastiest Rondos I have seen.
2017 White Castle Vineyard, Regent £21.50
Regent is another hybrid red grape, this time made by crossing Diana (a Silvaner x Müller-Thurgau cross) with the interspecific hybrid Chambourcin. It has the same skills as Rondo and so it is equally suited to our inclement conditions. With bright, blackberry fruit gum notes and a nice dry finish, this is another superb piece of winemaking and it will amaze people who have yet to find a Welsh red to make them smile!
2018 Montgomery, Seyval Blanc, Traditional Method £45.00
The new vintage of this sparkler has not yet hit the Montgomery website, but I expect it will make an appearance soon. Only 2948 bottles were made and it shows lovely, open, floral notes on the nose and a tart, lean, raspy finish. Combative and lively, this is a super-refreshing style and it will make a great aperitif-style this summer.
2018 Montgomery, Rosé, Traditional Method £45.00
Made from Seyval Blanc and Pinot Noir Précoce, presumably along the same lines as the ‘sparkling white’ (above) while employing Précoce in red wine format to eye-dropper colour into this pink wine, this is a very successful creation, not least because the juiciness of the PNP adds a little more weight, padding out the finish and bringing with it some discreet red fruit hints. Only 1470 bottles were made so do get in quick!
2018 Montgomery, Demi Sec, Traditional Method £41.50
This time only 525 bottles were made and, again, I assume that the identical ‘sparkling white’ chassis was used as a base and more residual sugar was introduced to add succulence and curves. Funnily enough, this is not quite as sweet tasting as many Demi Sec wines and I wouldn’t be averse to drinking this as a retro aperitif! I rather like juicy styles of sparkling wine and I think that as the Estate Sparkler is rather lean and youthful, this Demi Sec does a great job for immediate drinking. Summery and pleasant this I am certain that this rare wine will impress you!