A Flying Scotsman is soaring in the world of Spanish wine with his latest prestigious accolade.
Forfar’s Norrel Robertson has established himself as a leading figure in Spanish viniculture since settling there after travelling the world to study in the field.
His label, El Escoces Volante – The Flying Scotsman – has garnered worldwide renown and Mr Robertson’s skill and dedication to the craft has been recognised with his investiture to the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino.
The Covid-19 pandemic meant he and two new fellow caballeros have not been able to toast each other’s success in person, but they will have the opportunity to savour the moment of glory at the next investiture dinner in 2021.
The accolade is the latest prized step on a wine journey which began among the cases of an off-licence shop where Norrel worked during his student days.
It eventually led him to the vineyards of northern Spain, where he now exports hundreds of thousands of bottles annually.
Norrel said he was thrilled to receive the honour of becoming a ‘knight of the great order of wine’ in an organisation established in 1985 which counts winemakers, winery owners, importers, retailers, restaurateurs and journalists among its distinguished ranks.
He said: “It is a great honour to be invited join such an illustrious group of professionals who have given so much to Spanish wine.
“I have had the privilege of bringing up a family and setting up business in Spain and hope that together we can keep on communicating all that is great about Spanish wine, culture and lifestyle.”
The Aberdeen University politics and international studies graduate harboured ambitions of becoming a journalist before a job in off-sales firm Oddbins sparked a love affair with wine which took him from Angus to Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Portugal and France to learn about its production “from the cellar up”.
He graduated with distinction from a postgraduate viticulture and oenology course at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand and, in 2003, settled in Calatayud, in the Aragon region sitting in the shadow of the Pyrenees.
He now specialises in red wines from the Garnacha grape.
Chairwoman of the GOCV, Sarah Jane Evans said: “The members of the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino are elected for their outstanding achievement working with quality wines from Spain.
“This year we are delighted to welcome three really exceptional caballeros.”