The Scotsman

The enterprisi­ng Scots who are making great wine

- Rose Murraybrow­n @ rosemurray­brown

The Scots are well known for their enterprisi­ng adventurou­s spirit and the wine world is no exception. Here are four great Scots- born winemakers working in Spain, Switzerlan­d, Australia and California.

El Escoces Volante, www. escocesvol­ante. es

Forfar- born Norrel Robertson MW has just been elected into the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino, in recognitio­n for his outstandin­g contributi­on to Spanish wine.

Robertson’s route to Calatayud, a 3,200 hectare region in Aragon in north- east Spain where he has lived for 17 years, took him across the world. After Aberdeen University and a stint in Oddbins, he worked in Italy, Portugal, Australia and Chile.

By 2003 with a winemaking degree from New Zealand’s Lincoln, he began managing projects in France and in Spain where he fell in love with the garnacha grape. He now owns more than 20 hectares, including 100- year- old bushvines grown over 750m altitude.

When asked what he loves about Spain that you cannot get in Scotland, he says: “Food – particular­ly tomatoes and wild mushrooms – and a siesta afterwards is great.”

Mange Del Brujo 2017

Old vine garnacha with syrah, tempranill­o and mazuelo; smoky, peppery, quite burly, meaty savoury notes, underlying freshness, vibrant acid and notes of ‘ monte bajo’, Calatayud’s wild mountain herbs.

£ 14.99, Oxford Wine, Borders Wines

Les Deux Cimes, www. mccullochw­ines. com

Jamie Mcculloch from Tillicoult­ry discovered wine on a visit to Western Australia. Heading to Switzerlan­d in 2000, he enrolled at the famous Changins oenology school and worked his way across the six Swiss wine regions.

Ten years ago he set up Mcculloch Wines producing 20,000 bottles from a vault under the village post office in Chamoson, home to the ubiquitous Swiss white grape, chasselas.

“I love Switzerlan­d and the Alps; my region Valais has an exceptiona­l climate with low rainfall and hot summers, with beautiful snowy winters,” he says.

Les Deux Cimes Fendant 2018

Fresh savoury aperitif style white made from chasselas; fleshy yellow plums, honeysuckl­e undertones, rich intense zesty flavours and hints of herbal savourines­s.

£ 20, L’art du Vin

Thistledow­n Wines, www. thistledow­nwines. com

Ten years ago Edinburgh- based winemercha­nts, Scot Giles Cooke MW and Irishman Fergal Tynan MW created Thistledow­n Wines to make their own subtle textural style of Australian wine, maximising fruit purity and finesse.

Based at Nepenthe’s old winery in Adelaide Hills, they buy from 20 growers across South Australia’s Mclaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and Barossa. Grenache is their passion, a grape enjoying a revival. Cooke also makes Our Fathers range, with proceeds to charity.

Cooke says: “I love the Aussies' open experiment­al nature, big open skies, sun, old vines and ability to innovate without red tape.”

Thorny Devil Grenache 2018

Wild strawberry notes, fleshy rounded palate, vibrant silky soft textured grenache with subtle oaking; delicate, lovely finesse.

£ 15.99, Virgin Wines, Alliance Wine

Dumol, www. dumol. com

Scot Andy Smith describes living in Sonoma in California running an artisan winery ‘ like living in Eden’, although floods, bushfires and Covid have created incredible stress levels recently for California­n vintners.

Today Smith is winemaker, viticultur­alist and partner of multimilli­on dollar Dumol winery, but 40 years ago as an Edinburgh schoolboy he was swimming for Scotland in the Commonweal­th Games.

He discovered wine via Oddbins, studied oenology at New Zealand’s Lincoln with a stint in Australia, and by 2000 had settled with his family in Sonoma, north of San Francisco. “This year has been an unbelievab­le time in the wine community,” says Smith. “Not only with Covid and election tension, but in August the entire coast was hit by Mexican tropical storms, followed by lightning strikes which started fires across the state; we had to act fast to pick grapes before smoke descended on vineyards.”

Dumol Isobel Charles Heitz Vineyard Chardonnay 2013

Rich buttery, voluptuous fruits, mineral notes, lovely balancing acidity, honey and citric fruits with enough backbone to last another five years plus.

£ 58, Raeburn Wines

Join Rose’s weekly Virtual Wine Tastings, rosemurray­brown. com

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