French wine in Scotland is conspicuous by its absence.
We have now been in Scotland for more than five weeks and have eaten in restaurants and pubs on a number of occasions, especially last week when we travelled out to the west coast before heading up to John O’Groats for four nights.
Apart from the Loire wines I brought up with us from London I haven’t drunk any French wine since we left London on 8th July. This isn’t I hasten to add a Budd boycott it is just that there are very few French wines listed on the wine lists in the eating establishments we have visited. Admittedly we haven’t visited any gastronomic temples, where French wines are probably better represented, rather keeping to restaurants and pubs of a reasonable standard.
Apart from Champagne there are often virtually no French wines listed. As you might expect there are plenty of wines from outside Europe – New Zealand and Chilean Sauvignon Blancs as well as Merlots and Cabernets from Chile plus the odd Pinotage from South Africa.
Parts of Europe are well represented as well – there is almost invariably at least one Rioja on a list plus some Italian wine with Pinot Grigio not surprisingly a popular choice and the non–Champagne sparkling wine alternative tends to be Proseeco. I haven’t seen one wine from Germany. I think I would be amazed if I did.
Although many of the wines selected are safe choices, there are some unusual wines offered like Nico, the Portuguese red from Sétubal at Na Mara in Gairloch. Equally the Uruguayan Catamayor Tannat Merlot from Castillo Viejo or the Sicilian Nero d’Avola Rosé listed as specials at the Glen Mhor in Newtonmore.
Despite the paucity of French wines on offer the long established Auld Alliance between Scotland and France continues: This summer there are many French people who have been attracted to the Highlands. It is also very popular with Italians. Maybe the French visitors find having to try unfamiliar wines part of the attraction of the Highlands of Scotland along with the magnificent scenery.
By the time you read this Carole, my partner, and I will be readying ourselves for her 270-mile charity bike ride to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust in memory of her niece Esme, who died of a brain tumour aged 18, in early July. Details here: