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Scotland's First Attempt at Wine Is 'Bizarre' and 'Undrinkable'

The winemaker behind Scotland's first home-grown wine has labeled his own creation "undrinkable," while one critic said he "enjoyed it in a bizarre, masochistic way.”
Photo via Flickr user chrisamichaels

Can the land of peaty whisky do the same thing for grapes as it has for grain?

If Scotland's first attempt at winemaking is any indicator, no. No, it cannot.

Booze-making is not exactly alien to Scotland, but for a variety of reasons (climate being one of them), winemaking has always eluded the country.

Three years ago, Aberdeen native Christopher Trotter set to change all that when he founded his own vineyard in the historic county of Fife with 200 vines.


But after recently sampling his first vintage, called Chateau Largo, it was clear to Trotter that he had his work cut out for him.

"It's not great," he told the Scotsman. "We have produced a vintage of, shall we say, a certain quality, but I'm confident the next will be much better."

By "certain quality" Trotter actually means "like rotten piss." Well, his own words were "horrible" and "undrinkable," but you get the idea.

While the winemaker and erstwhile chef admitted that he failed to chill his grapes quickly enough, he was still optimistic about the fact that he was able to make wine grapes grow in Scotland's damp climes.

In fact, he claims that that climate change will work in Scotland's favor, which he believes "will become more like the Loire Valley in 20 to 30 years." He pointed to England's very recent history as an emerging sparkling wine-producing region as proof. Indeed, the Scotsman notes that his vines "basked in near-tropical sunshine while more than 1,600 acres of French vineyards were hit by extreme weather conditions."

"My wine will never be like a chablis," he said. "But the aim is to produce a good-quality table wine and I believe that can be achieved."

But even achieving good-quality table wine will be a challenge. The Scotsman spoke to an Edinburgh-based wine merchant who noted that while Trotter's wine barely qualified as such, "I enjoyed it in a bizarre, masochistic way." Not exactly the kind of tasting notes you'd want to print on the back of the bottle.

Other critics, meanwhile, acknowledged that it might pair well with a "very strong cheese." You know, like the kind that makes your nose bleed to distract you from the flavor of the wine itself.

If Scotland really wants overly sweet wine that tastes like a nightmare hangover, it can always stick to Buckfast.