Vineyards of Monmouthshire: White Castle

Third on my itinerary of Monmouthshire vineyards was a flying visit to White Castle - I couldn't quite fit a proper tour into the schedule so this will be a shorter article than the others.

White Castle was established in 2009, not long after Ancre Hill, making this the newest of the Monmouthshire vineyards.

We arrived unannounced but were made to feel very welcome by Nicola, one of the owners, in their shop / cellar door who gave us a quick tasting of some of their still reds. Their newly released 2018 Pinot Noir Precoce, their 2017 (I think) Regent and their Pinot Noir Reserve (either 2016 or 2017). The Pinot Noir Precoce was youthful as you'd expect, but showed promise, with bright acidity, and would almost certainly benefit from a bit more age. The Pinot Noir Reserve had more depth and character and was very respectable - I think this deserves revisiting more thoroughly, we were alas in a bit of a rush!

I was most interested in their sparkling wine and I bought two bottles - one to have later that day and another for the upcoming Monmouthshire sparkling wine tasting I'm planning.

This was rather unusually made from the Phoenix grape - I think it's the first time I've encountered a sparkling wine from this variety. Elderflower very much in evidence here - apparently a hallmark of Phoenix, and then an underlying citrusy sort of profile.

While there we did take a quick look at the vineyard, which is accessed via a beautiful cruck framed barn, which, by coincidence, a friend of my Uncle's had been involved with the restoration of. Then across a little bridge into the vineyard.

The vineyard is unusually arranged on the Scott Henry trellising system.

Like I said a flying visit! Not sure I really did White Castle justice, but it was very pleasant to have been here, however briefly. I'll be interested to see how their sparkling compares to the others from the Monmouthshire vineyards in the upcoming tasting.


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