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From Spain, to New Zealand, Scots winemakers are becoming increasingly more common and successful. That our northern country, with no vineyards and no winemaking tradition of its own, can boast a dozen individuals who have followed a passion to make wine in faraway places is nonetheless remarkable - the same cannot be said of Norwegian or Finnish winemakers!
For many Scots, an interest in wine was sparked off whilst still in Scotland and they packed in careers to follow a dream of learning to make wine in a foreign country. For others, a move to a wine-making country for other reasons saw them discover wine for the first time, and pursue a career in their adopted home land.
As Tom says,
‘Every time I drink a bottle of wine made by a Scot it adds an extra element of pleasure: for me part of the enjoyment of wine is not just the stuff in the bottle, but the story that lies behind.'
Tom takes us through a selection of wines accompanied by some interesting tasters- Noel Fielding, Paul Foot and their furry friends.
Gladstone Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc 2009, New Zealand
£10.75, Great Western Wines
A Sauvignon from Wairarapa on New Zealand's North Island, that strikes a nice balance between being punchy, leafy and tropical-fruited and having a more food-friendly, restrained side to its lemony fruit and acidity. Owner, winemaker and Grandmother Christine Kernohan emigrated from Glasgow with her husband 30 years ago. After a successful career in the computer industry she fell in love with this vineyard on a visit, and when it came up for sale in 1996, bought it.
This wine can be drunk with goat's cheese tarts and asparagus risotto with zest of lemon for the best flavours.
The Pilgrimage Mazuelo 2008, Spain
£7.07 at Asda.
From the little-known Extremadura region close to the Portuguese border, this Mazuelo (the grape known as Carignan in France) offers fresh black fruit aromas and flavours backed up by a touch of oak. It is made by Norrel Robertson, who left his job in Odbbins in Edinburgh to study winemaking in New Zealand before finally settling in Spain. He is also the only Master of Wine based in Spain.
With grilled lamb chops or monkfish wrapped in pancetta the full flavours of this wine can be experienced.
Lowe Family, Reserve Shiraz 2005, Australia
£16.15, L'Art du Vin (Edinburgh)
Jane Wilson was born in Oban and graduated as a vet from the University of Glasgow before emigrating to Australia to work in a vet's practice. After a while she gave that job up, and was working a stint as a 'cellar rat' (a general dogsbody in an Australian winery) when she met winemaker David Lowe, who was later to become her husband. Jane has a huge passion for organic farming, and now devotes as much time to her organic beef and sheep herds as she does wine, but this example of her strapping Shiraz proves how talented she is!
With a rich meat casserole, barbecues or steak au poivre you can really savour the taste of this particular wine.
Take a look at The Hour's wine pages for more tips and advice