Category Archives: Wine and Spirits

Icon Wine of the Week: Nebbiolo’s Barbaresco

This week, we are exploring one of the greatest examples of the Nebbiolo grape: Spinetta from Vignetto Gallina,  Italy. Producing highly tannic wines, commonly suitable for ageing, here we showcase one of the greatest vintages in modern times.


Barbaresco from the DOCG of Piedmont in North Western Italy is made from the Nebbiolo grape, ubiquitous in this region. Nebbiolo is a very delicate grape variety producing a light red wine, almost similar to Pinot Noir but with a heavier structure. It is very food friendly, and as wines traditionally best match with the cuisine of the local area, the foods of North Western Italy is ideal.

Most wines made using Nebbiolo are made for ageing. This bottle, a 1997, will have softened somewhat over 18 years, to bring out more mature and complex notes, with tar and roses coming to the fore.

1997 is always regarded as a great vintage in Italy and this is one of the greatest examples of Nebbiolo. The wine develops some ripe dark cherries, plums and cooked strawberries aromas followed by a touch of violet, cedar wood, truffle with an earthy note and showing a soft and feminine palate.
This wine pairs perfectly with duck.

Icon Wine of the Week: Château Climens

The colder months often warrant something a little richer, and few bottles can beat a Sauternes from France. Luscious and with a lovely nose, this particular bottle – a 1967 Ch. Climens – is something special.


This weekend we are celebrating one of the finest dessert wines! Château Climens is a Premier Cru Classé from Bordeaux 1967

Barsac is one of the five villages to be able to carry the appellation Sauternes but can also have its own. Château Climens has been classified as a First Growth in 1855 and is made in the same way as Sauternes, with the Semillon grape. Sauternes can be made with two other gape varieties in minority too, but the grape variety here is 100 percent Semillon, said to suit the vineyard’s chalky soil.

This area of France is one of the few wine regions that naturally enables Sauternes to be made. It requires a naturally occurring fungus, Botrytis Cinerea, also known as Noble Rot, which makes the grapes partially raisined, concentrating the flavours in the grape.  Much of the Sautners area has river running through it, and low lying vineyards, where a mist can develop, this damp condition encourages the fungus to grow.

Due to the fact that production can be hit and miss, the price of these sweet delights is often high, and aged Sauternes are very sought after.

This particular wine develops a lovely nose of mandarin, orange marmalade, apple compote with a hint of saffron as well as some fresh hazelnut, honey and caramel.

The palate is rich but as a great balance and the very syrupy texture of its youth has decreased to bring more freshness to it in old age. Refined!

This is absolutely delectable with our Foie Gras dish or with our delicious Caramel dessert!

Spotlight on Festival Exhibitors: Two Cocks Brewery

In just under a week we welcome our sixth annual Wine Festival. It is back with a diference. We have invited esteemed friends from the drinks trade, including our brewery partner, Two Cocks Brewery. Here, we learn a little more about them.


Phil and Michael started Two Cocks Brewery in 2011 and now produce award–winning ale in small batches using water drawn from the farm’s borehole.

Using this clear, fresh and sweet tasting water and some of the farm’s own hedgerow hops in every brew gives the beers a distinctive edge.

Hot on sustainability, the spent grain is used to feed the farm’s livestock and the spent hops are used to enrich the soil.

The Two Cocks name and hand-applied feather on every bottle label gives a nod to the brewery’s poultry farm roots and underlines the brewery’s desire to produce artisan beers with a known provenance. The beers have already won 17 major awards and gained a following of several Michelin-starred chefs.

The beers all have Civil War-inspired names in honour of the fact that the brewery is based on a Roundhead encampment of the 1643 battle of Newbury.

Icon Wine of the Week: Peter Michael Winery Pinot Noir

This week’s exceptional wine by the glass is our very own 2011 Peter Michael Winery, Clos du Ciel Pinot Noir. Recently award-winning, this is something we make ourselves and are very proud of. Our Sommelier team tell us more.

Peter Michael Winery

2010 showed to be an exceptional year for Sonoma’s Pinot Noir with both our Ma Danseuse and Clos du Ciel being awarded a prestigious 100 points by Robert Parker.

Sonoma, often said as being capable of competing with Burgundy’s finest, has proved to be producing some of the greatest California Pinot Noir. The wine Clos du Ciel is a tribute to this beautiful region and to the walled vineyards called “clos”.

This is no wallflower of a Pinot Noir: the soft palate offers a great panel of ripe dark cherry, dry flowers and slightly plummy with a hint of spices and a fantastic balance.

The power of this Pinot Noir will accompany our tender lamb course beautifully.

Icon Wine of the Week: 2004 Meursault

This month heralds our Wine Festival, and our Icon Wines this month are all diverse and superlative in their class. Cue 2004 Meursault: an undervalued gem.



We are now paying tribute to one of the most talented producers in Burgundy: Anne Claude Leflaive. Domaine Leflaive was established in 1717 and is nowadays regarded as one of the finest estates in Burgundy.

This wine is a 2004 Premier Cru from a four-acre vineyard. 2004 is quite underrated but is actually a fantastic vintage for white wines, maybe even better than 2005!

With 12 months in barrel and a further six months in stainless steel, the wine has a creamy texture and develops notes of hazelnuts and roasted almonds as well as some baked apple and stone fruit notes. The rich palate is balanced by a chalky minerality giving a great freshness to the wine.

It is a great pairing to cod.

Icon Wine of the Week: 1999 Jasper Hill from Australia

Further afield this week to Australia, we visit Heathcote in Central Victoria to sample the 1999 Jasper Hill Shiraz Cabernet Franc blend.  Made by Emily’s Paddock, this is a delightfully hearty red with a lot to give. Our Sommelier team tell us more.



Heathcote is a lesser known area of Victoria, Australia. Nevertheless, some of the wines show a fantastic quality and potential.


This weekend’s Icon Wine is one of them.


Jasper Hill was bought in 1975 by Ron and Elva Laughton and produced their 1st vintage under the Jasper Hill in 1982. They are renowned to be one of the pioneers in this region.


The wine has a great complexity with tones of Maraschino cherry, plums and prunes as well as some sweet spices with a round and velvety palate.


Fantastic with our Beef dish or as an after dinner glass of wine.


Icon Wine of the Week:2004 Clos St Denis, Burgundy

Continuing our Burgundy theme this month, and a massive match for seasonal fare including game and earthy autumn vegetables, the 2004 vintage of  Clos St Denis Grand Cru made by Pascal Lachaux in Burgundy is one not to miss.


This weekend, I wanted to show one of the finest Burgundy wines I have ever tasted.


Pascal Lachaux produces exemplary wines at Domaine Robert Arnoux where he continues to take the domaine from strength to strength.


He has extended his range by buying small quantities of grapes to make wines under a négociant licence. The wines are splendid; authentic and individual and all in limited supply.


2004 might not be regarded as Burgundy’s best vintage but this wine is just fantastic and drinking amazingly well now!


The wine develops aromas of ripe Bigarreau cherry, cranberry and freshly crushed strawberry. This beautiful wine also offers notes of sweet spices like chocolate and licorice, hint of black pepper and a touch of caramel.


The palate is ripe, perfumed and delicate with a great concentration, a silky texture and a long and soft finish.
I would suggest this unique wine with our delicious Duck course.

Thirty Five Days To Go!

Having recently won 2015 European Hotel Wine List of the Year, and been voted a top ten foodie hotel in The Sunday Times 100 Ultimate British Hotels 2015, The Vineyard hosts its annual wine festival on November 20th and 21st. With thirty five days to go, here’s a little more…


The Saturday tasting showcases over 150 wines –including many sparkling – from suppliers around the globe including Schramsberg, Taittinger, Gusbourne, Peter Michael Winery, Rudd Estate and more. Guests can deepen their wine knowledge, chat with suppliers and winemakers, and attend masterclasses throughout the event.

Other highlights on the day of the tasting will be:

English sparkling wine – California is our heartland and England is our home. You will get to try products from the rise of English sparkling wine for yourself

Ageworthy wines – There will be a comparative tasting between two Californian vintages, ten years apart, to demonstrate the ageability of wine

Coravin – A revolutionary way of wine storage that will change the way you drink

Artisan spirits – Sample delicious alternative spirits and liqueurs that make great stocking fillers too

Artisan beers – The rise of artisan English beer continues and you will be able to try some of the best here

The Wine Festival Weekend begins with a fantastic five-course dinner on the Friday night matched with two superb wines per course, hosted by the great and the good of the wine world. The bottles are selected from producers present at the dinner.

The following day pays host to The Vineyard’s sixth annual wine festival with over 150 wines available to taste from suppliers around the globe. Have fun and deepen your wine knowledge, chat with suppliers and winemakers, and attend masterclasses throughout the event. With bottles uncorked from Peter Michael Winery, Schramsberg, Rudd Estate, Champagne Taittinger, Gusbourne, Les Caves de Pyrene and more, it is sure to be a remarkable and palate-teasing day.

Icon wine of the week: 2007 Californian Chardonnay

And now from some Californian sunshine, specifically in the form of 2007 Flowers Chardonnay made by Camp Meeting Ridge on the Sonoma Coast in California. Our Sommelier team tells us more about this little known but much acclaimed producer and grape.

This weekend we will be showcasing one of California’s most acclaimed Chardonnays!
To me, Flowers produces some of California’s best Chardonnay. The Camp Meeting Ridge vineyard was planted in 1991 and is considered by the estate itself as producing the most exciting and interesting Chardonnay.

The wine undergoes fermentation and ageing in French oak barrel of which only 35% new to retain a certain freshness and minerality.

2007 is often regarded as one of California’s best vintage and this wine is a great example.

The nose offers complex aromas of fresh hazelnut and almond, ripe yellow peach, pear, as well as confit lemon peel

The palate is rich, creamy with some toasty notes, sweet spices like vanilla and cinnamon. It is long and amazingly well balanced

I would suggest this excellent Chardonnay with our Halibut dish.

Icon Wine of the Week: 2009 Chablis Premier Cru

‘Tis the moment for Burgundy – and Chablis – at The Vineyard, with our recent Wine School and Wine Dinner. And this coming weekend we are showcasing refined and creamy 2009 Chablis Premier Cru, Forêt, Francois Raveneau from Burgundy. But just what does make this so special?



Francois Raveneau established his estate in 1948 and started to be seen as one of the finest Chablis producers during the 1970s. The great care used to produce the wines includes an entirely manual harvest, which makes it one of the only five estates in Chablis to do so!


The estate is composed of around 9.5 hectares and about 90% of the vineyards are located on either Chablis Grand Cru or Chablis Premier Cru appellation.


The 2009 vintage shows a great chalky minerality followed by a complex touch of toasty and creamy notes due to the oak ageing, alongside some lovely ripe white fruit and citrus notes.


One of the greatest white wines I have ever tasted was the 1994 vintage of of Domaine Francois Raveneau’s Premier Cru Chabli, this wine would make an exquisite paring with scallops.