It is always a pleasure to shine a spotlight on Welsh Wine Week, which happens between 25 May and 2 June this year.

This time, my digging around to find great wines was a doddle. These cunning dragons held a particularly impressive tasting in London last month at the London Welsh Centre, and I was one of many interested parties in attendance. While Welsh wine still seems somewhat of an anomaly in the greater consciousness of the UK wine trade, I can assure you that if you were ignorant of this event, then get on the radar, and if you found yourself a little too busy, sort your diary out.

This was a pivotal celebration, with eight committed wineries showing their finest wines to date. I only have space to highlight three bottles in this article, but I found much to admire in all corners of the room.

Among assembled VIPs, I was fortunate to rub shoulders with several influential wine communicators and our very own editor, Rebecca Farmer! In essence, this was the finest Welsh event to date, not least because the number of wines shown was the largest but also because I started to sense a collegiate feeling in the room, which is critical to any vinous marketing plan.

Of course, there were more than three highlights among the wines on show, but there is still some way to go before I am truly spoilt for choice. I have been writing about serious Welsh wines since 2010, and while I am time poor and perpetually drowning in samples from all over the planet, I always take the time to focus on wines from across the border. It is inbuilt – I am English, the Welsh are near neighbours, and we are soulmates (unless we are talking about rugby)! So, when I walked into this tasting, I knew that my focus was to determine the three most important and commercially relevant wines in the room.

Read on for my top trio, and I am sorry to those wines that sat in fourth, fifth and sixth place… I know who you are, and you will get a good swing of the bat before too long.

NV Ancre Hill Estates, Blanc de Noirs


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I visited Richard and Joy Morris in the dim and distant past, and they are pioneers in their (literal) field. While I would love to recommend their entire portfolio, I cannot. Some of their wines are just too edgy and complicated for my tastes. I am a classically trained old fart whose flavour boundaries were set some half-century ago, and while the Morrises move things along with their creative pet nats and the like, I prefer to settle into my lounger with a glass of this terrific BdeN.

I love their Bio-worthiness and I respect their zero-dosage stance. I adore the four-year-long lees contact and lack of interventions during the entire making of this wine. But what I value more than any of these badges is the flavour of this deeply invigorating and resplendent wine. This is not only a decent Welsh drop but also a wildly delicious Pinot Noir that teases all the senses with its restless energy and eventual completeness. I take my hat off to you Morris folk – you did it. You made sense of the white noise surrounding Biodynamism and the fervent and oft misguided no/lo-intervention movement and ‘grew’ great wine in a world where hundreds of others failed.

2023 White Castle Vineyard, Still Rosé


Robb and Nicola Merchant have done an excellent job banging the Welsh wine drum for as long as I can remember. Their wines are all noteworthy, and my problem here was which should I pick to trumpet their wondrous song.

As it happens, I may have chosen a wine they least expected, but I know my reader will adore it. This new season rosé, made from 40% Siegerrebe, 40% Phoenix and 20% Pinot Noir Précoce, is a little beauty. It has a floral nose, a generous mid-palate (often missing from those skinny numbers over the border) and a fabulous, long, dry finish. More importantly, it does what us thirsty drinkers desire – it fulfils the promise.

Check list: it’s summer, I need rosé, I want to support Wales, where do I spend my twenty quid? Answer: White Castle Vineyard. We all know the rest of the world offers you all the choices you never wanted, but this year Wales answers the question with this wine. Drink it, and you will see that I am right.

2021 Vale Reserve Red, Gwinllan y Dyffryn, Wales


This wine won a silver medal at the Welsh Vineyard Association awards last year, and the only question I have is, what on earth could have beaten it?

This is a stormingly delicious wine, and when I waltzed around the room, I thought the 2022 Vale Vineyard Cabernet Noir/Divico/Rondo blend, drearily entitled ‘Red Wine’ in the tasting booklet, was a beauty until this ‘Reserve’ level red, was unleashed.

Made from 80% Pinot Noir Précoce and 20% Divico and fermented in stainless steel before being transferred to barrels for nine months, the astonishing thing about this wine is that the vineyard was planted in 2019.

While I am familiar with the ‘first crop phenomenon’, this wine blows even the most delicious of these candidates out of the water. As an aside, the wine ninjas at Halfpenny Green were employed to usher this wine into the bottle, and they never let anyone down.

You can summon all the Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones analogies you like, but nothing comes close to this dragon awakening moment. Get in quick – this is a micro-production wine.