Not water but wine

Welsh dragonHaving the nickname 'David The Water Drinker' tells you all you need to know about the Welsh patron's saint view on alcohol. But that hasn't stopped Wales' twenty-two vineyards getting on rather nicely without his blessing. From the far south in The Vale of Glamorgan right up to Anglesey, vineyard sales are flourishing. So why not join in the celebrations this Saint David's Day on Saturday and open a bottle of Welsh wine.

Warmer areas of Wales can grow grapes quite successfully in the open, but they rarely ripen with enough sugar to ferment above 9 or 10% alcohol: this leads to the characteristic under-ripe flat taste that plagues many UK-grown wines.

So choose wisely and look for Welsh wines with alcohol levels of 11% and over. Then your lightly chilled white will tastes lusciously of hazelnut, lime and sesame seeds and not of cardboard.

Welsh sceneWelsh wines online

Ancre Hill Vineyard, Monmouth

Started in 2006, there is now 9 acres grapes planted over two sites on the outskirts of Monmouth town. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Albarino grapes are grown to biodynamic principles. Building work on the new winery was started in November 2013 and it’s hoped it will be operational for this year’s harvest in October.

Sugar Loaf Vineyard, Abergavenny

Seven grape varieties planted over 5 acres. Medium-dry white, rosé and sparkling available. Buy wine and cheese gift sets online.

Glyndwr Vineyard, Vale of Glamorgan

Established 1982, Glyndwr grapes are used to make a white, a rosé, red and two sparkling wines – some of which have been drunk at House of Lords’ banquets. Buy online in single bottles or cases of 6 and 12. Currently selling 2010 vintage but Glyndwr Red and Rosé sold out.

Jabajak Vineyard, Carmarthenshire

Last summer produced a huge crop but unfortunately the summer was too short to ripen the grapes properly, while previous years didn’t produce enough. But they are ‘ever optimistic’. While waiting for the wines why not visit their restaurant?

For a complete list of Welsh vineyards visit http://www.englishwineproducers.co.uk/vineyards/wales/

This article has als appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week for MatureTimes.co.uk