Yes you read that right.. Wonderful Welsh Vineyards! Until a few months ago I was under the impression that Wales had one maybe two vineyards. I had heard of Llanerch Vineyard and I also knew we had a cracking distillery – Penderyn but welsh wine? Was that a thing? I didn’t think so. Well I was ready to be proved wrong and indeed I was on my recent press trip with Food and Drink Wales. There are welsh vineyards. Many of them and we got to explore and stay at two of the best, we may have indulged in a few glasses of the wine too.
On our first night we stayed at Jabajak Vineyard in Whitland, Carmarthenshire. and it would be fair to say that I fell in love with it a little. The welcome was warm and friendly and the place had the most relaxed vibe. I could have settled into my gorgeous garden suite for a week quite happily with a good book ( or two ) and notepad.
The entrance to my room was green and inviting with a rocking bench set on the porch. I loved that my room was pretty much wall to wall windows and looked immediately out onto the glorious vines.
The whole place has an effortlessly stylish cosiness without trying too hard. Within five minutes of arriving I was relaxed, right there on that sofa with a cup off tea. Welsh tea of course, there is a huge emphasis on supporting Welsh producers from the tea, coffee and toiletries in the room to the cheeses and chocolates served at the end of the meal. Amanda ( the owner) is big on using local companies and supporting new brands.
Onto the wine. Now I should say upfront that I am not a heavy wine consumer, I like wine, on occasion I like wine a lot but it’s a rarity for me. A pleasurable one. We tried a few different wines during the course of our dinner, starting with The White House Sparkling Blush. Whilst explaining about this wine Amanda talked to us about Hiraeth – a Welsh word which has no literal translation, you’ll find many explanations online but most say it is a sense of belonging or nostalgia/homesickness for your home even when you are there. This is written on the bottles:
Hiraeth – wine that belongs to its terroir.
I like that a lot. It appeals to my cheesy side. The sparkling blush was perfect for the light summery evening before our meal and it went down very easily, it is definitely the kind of light fizz that I enjoy with enough of an interesting flavour to please any wine experts you may have joining you for dinner.
Talking of dinner, we had a glorious meal at Jabajak. From the starters to the final chocolate truffle. The meals were hearty and full of flavour and interesting additions such as home made gooseberry and elderflower chutney served with possible the best bruschetta I’ve had.
I’d highly recommend a stay at Jabajak, you won’t find many people as passionate about welsh food and drink as Amanda and it really does add to your stay. Add to that the great food, delicious wine and atmospheric surroundings. I just know I’ll be back one day.
Day two and we moved onto Llanerch Vineyard. Llanerch is in The Vale Of Glamorgan and is a very different yet equally impressive vineyard. It has a slightly more corporate vibe to it and the rooms are more modern with a minimalistic feel, it is the type of place which would be great for an event or a large group booking – they have 29 more rooms coming soon. There were a lot more staff and customers due to the size difference and the approach was more business like yet friendly and down to earth at the same time. My room was lovely, large and airy with a super duper fan which I desperately needed in the heat!
We dined at Llanerch that night and the food was absolutely incredible. This time around we had Simon, a wine expert talking us through the wines at dinner and we again started with a sparkling blush which I really enjoyed once again. This wine was called Cariad which for my non Welshies means darling or sweetheart.
The whole meal was outstanding but the highlight for me was the starter, a poached hen’s egg coated in polenta served with asparagus, black garlic puree, beer and charcoal soil:
After a supremely comfy nights sleep, we headed for breakfast which was pretty darn good. I rarely eat breakfast or if I do it’s something light but I opted for the full Welsh and I’m so glad I did:
Later that day after a very interesting trip to Cwm Farm we returned to the Vineyard for our food and wine paring followed by our tour of the vines.
Simon Gatley talked us through a cheese, charcuterie and wine tasting – did you know that certain wines suit certain cheeses better or that a sparkling wine may suit a creamier cheese? I’ll be honest that I was ever so slightly tipsy after this very educational tasting. But seriously oh my word.. the cheese. I could have sat there all day just eating the cheese. My favourite wine from the tasting was the Montgomery Solaris and the Pant Y Gawn goats’ cheese was utter perfection.
Following on from the tasting we had our vineyard tour, with ..yes more wine. It was really interesting to stroll around the vines, learning about the different wines and tasting them as we wandered. Would be a great gift to buy for any wine lovers in your life.
We headed home, slightly merry for the wine and sated from all of the wonderful food.
Thanks to Food & Drink Wales and everyone who hosted us during the trip.
- This was a commissioned post as part of a paid press trip.