Brian Elliott: Trust the professionals to find inspirational wines

Scotland on Sunday wine columnist Brian Elliott gives a few examples of why we should trust Scotland's wine professionals to pick great wines.

Published 17th Sep 2016
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Wine producers from all over often tell me how impressed they are by the knowledgeable drinking public in Scotland and by our accomplished wine trade professionals.

So, to underline the second point, here is a round-up of inspiring bottles currently at wine merchants hereabouts. Believe me, though, this is merely the tip of an extensive and soundly based iceberg.

2015 Lugana ‘Il Gruccione’ Nunzio Ghiraldi (£12.49 at De Burgh Wine Merchants in their delightful HQ at Fordel Mains Steading, Dalkeith) has long been a Tarquin de Burgh favourite. It is fresh, pithy, apple-centred white wine – from the little known turbiana grape – that also brings us sharp lemon acidity and a long, light-textured, ginger-influenced finish.

While Condrieu remains the pinnacle of viognier excellence (and prices), Languedoc produces some excellent and good value versions. One such is the creamy textured 2015 Domaine de la Baume Elisabeth Viognier (£10.99 at Aitken Wines, Dundee) with its red apple depth and persistent tangerine-based acidity. None of that, however, diminishes the variety’s classic, perfumed, apricot and mango components.

Switching to red wines, here is a top producer’s take on the increasingly rare alicante bouschet grape in arguably its best area (Portugal’s Alentejo).

Dark and dense, 2012 Ponte das Canas Mouchao (£18.99 at Luvians, Cupar and St Andrews from next month when the new vintage arrives) is centred on lively loganberry and red plum fruit but supplements it with liquorice and graphite touches and a firm twist of tannin.

Finally, then, let’s take in an unusual but great value blend from South Africa. Touriga nacional, shiraz, grenache, pinotage and mourvedre all add contributions to 2012 Solms Astor Langarm (£9.75 at WoodWinters in Bridge of Allan and Newington Road, Edinburgh). The result is a soft raspberry and cherry focused, medium-bodied red with gentle tannins, firm acidity and suggestions of vanilla, roses, cloves and molasses.


2015 Foremost Hawkes Bay Syrah

North Island, New Zealand, 12.5 per cent
This “when it’s gone, it’s gone” special is well worth seeking out. Beneath its chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and black pepper backdrop, there is skilfully balanced, soft black cherry, plum and bramble fruit, with bright acidity but only limited tannin. Perfect now that the game season has opened.
£8.99 at Lidl

2014 Fleur de D’Artagnan Saint Mont

South West France,13.5 per cent
Rural Scotland often has to turn to online retailers like the new Rude Wines operation. This white of theirs uses predominantly local grapes to create light fresh wine enlivened by sherbet lemon acidity but with pear and greengage fruit to provide more depth than some wine from thereabouts.
£8.49 at

• For regular recommendations on good value wines go to or follow Brian on Twitter @midweekwines

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