Scotland has never had much trouble producing alcohol. Scotch – the whisky named after the country – is world renowned. And brewing beer is part of their national heritage. But they never tried their hand at wine before – and they’re not off to the best start.
Christopher Trotter is the man behind what is being called Scotland’s first home-grown wine. Three years ago, he started growing grapes on a vineyard in Upper Largo in Fife (also home to St. Andrews Golf Club, whose weather, if you did not know, most closely resembles the tornado scene in the Wizard of Oz ). The first bottles from his “Chateau Largo” label have just been released, and unfortunately, the reviews aren’t stellar.
“It’s not yet drinkable but, that said, I enjoyed it in a bizarre, masochistic way,” isn’t the kind of praise that will land you in the 90s on Robert Parker scale. That was the take of Richard Meadows, owner of Edinburgh’s Great Grog Company wine merchants. Though he also said, “It has potential. It doesn’t smell fresh but it’s crisp and light and structurally it’s fine.”
Even Trotter admits he has a long way to go. “It’s not great,” The Scotsman quoted him as saying. “We have produced a vintage of, shall we say, a certain quality, but I’m confident the next will be much better.” He was also happy with accepting small victories: “We have proved we can grow grapes in the Scottish climate.”
Trotter didn’t get into winemaking for the immediate returns, however. He was inspired to start planting grapes in Scotland after hearing that the northern country would continue to grow as a potential wine region due to climate change. Good to see someone will benefit from global warming: the hard-drinking Scots!