And finally…Scotland’s first wine ‘undrinkable’

Chateau Largo
Christopher Trotter (image via pinterest)

Experts have joined the maker of Scotland’s first home-grown wine in branding it “undrinkable”.

Despite the sort of summer weather that has today lashed the British Open at St Andrews with torrential rain, Christopher Trotter set up his own vineyard in nearby Upper Largo in the Kingdom of Fife last year.

However, the Aberdonian chef and food writer, who installed 200 vines at his home, has admitted to the Daily Mail newspaper that his first vintage of ‘Chateau Largo’ tasted “horrible” as he had failed to chill the grapes quickly enough, which allowed oxidisation to occur.

“It’s not great,” he said. “We have produced a vintage of, shall we say, a certain quality, but I’m confident the next will be much better.

“We have proved we can grow grapes in the Scottish climate.”

Richard Meadows, owner of Great Grog Company, an Edinburgh-based wine merchants, was one of the first to sample Chateau Largo.

“It has potential,” he said politely.

“It doesn’t smell fresh but it’s crisp and light and structurally it’s fine.

“It’s not yet drinkable but, that said, I enjoyed it in a bizarre, masochistic way.”

Critics said it was an “undrinkable” sherry-like concoction with “nutty notes” that would might complement a “very strong cheese”.

Mr Trotter, 53, who has enough land for 6,000 vines, which could eventually produce around 70,000 bottles annually, said his efforts proved that grapes could ripen in Scotland and that he was confident next year would be much better.

“Climate change studies have suggested that areas like Scotland will become more like the Loire Valley in 20 to 30 years,” he told the paper.

‘If you look back to the English wine-making industry 30 years ago, it was the laughing stock of the wine-drinking world. It was not very nice stuff. But they persevered and now they are making some of finest wines in the world.

“Nyetimber (in southern England) now make sparkling wines every bit as good as a £50 bottle of Champagne.

“So, if that’s 30 years ago, and everyone agrees it’s getting warmer and warmer then I honestly do believe that even if we manage to make decent wine in two years out of every five it’s still worth doing.”

He added: “My wine will never be like a chablis. But the aim is to produce a good-quality table wine and I believe that can be achieved.”