Tag Archives: Vineyard at Stockcross

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.

Mont Mary Pinot Noir: Icon Wine of the Week

Mont Mary Vineyard from the Yarra Valley in Australia produces a deliciously fruity red. Here our team wax lyrical about this most delicious wine.

Mont Mary
Mount Mary is a family owned, single vineyard estate located in the heart of the Yarra Valley, situated east of Melbourne in the state of Victoria. This gentle north facing slope was first planted to vines in 1972 with 18 varieties on 40 acres. The Pinot Noir vines were sourced from western Victoria in 1971. The older Pinot blocks are a mix of many clones in the order of 30+ and the newer blocks have been planted to American rootstocks. Relatively short fermentations are employed, typically 8-10 days, with no cold soaks or post fermentation maceration. This is followed by 16 months of barrel maturation with minimal filtration prior to bottling.

Wild strawberries, cranberries and cherries dominate the aroma profile. There are subtle hints of mushrooms and earth that will build slowly and become less overpowered by primary fruit with time in the bottle.

On the palate there are flavours of strawberries, rhubarb and quince. There is a firm but fine tannic structure providing some grip, and a strong platform for graceful ageing.

Mushrooms: A Seasonal Delight

‘Tis the season for richer game-flavoured dishes thanks to in-season game meats and woodland crops. Our forests are generous with a wealth of delights for us to choose from and we explore the seasonal delight of mushrooms.

There are hundreds of common mushroom varieties such as button and brown mushroom buts some of the tastiest include field mushrooms, morels, oyster mushrooms and blewits. Field mushrooms are delicious with sautéed butter and herbs and are found in summer and autumn in rich open manured grasslands grazed by horses or cows. Morels are best cooked with a touch of cream and chopped chives – they have a light honeycomb pattern and a delicate scent. Oyster mushrooms are found in later autumn and have a very mild flavour – they are delicious fricasseed or sautéed with garlic or finished with cream on a steak.

Mushrooms are so versatile and go well with many other ingredients such as shellfish, poultry and meat. Wild game (also in season) with wild mushrooms is an especially good match – they are made for each other. Mushrooms are also a great option for vegetarians.

The flavour texture and scent of wild mushrooms, available either dried or fresh are very distinct – cultivated mushrooms are more widely available but are no match for the unique appeal of their wild cousins!

Alter Ego De Palmer – First Growth Quality

Every weekend we choose an ‘Icon’ wine, a superlative wine that we think is exceptional, to offer by the glass in our restaurant. This weekend, we chose Ch. Palmer’s Alter Ego de Palmer, the second wine from this esteemed Bordeaux winery. Here, Romain Bourger, our Head Somelier tells us more.

2008 Alter Ego de Palmer is a nuanced expression of the Ch. Palmer terroir, two interpretations of the variations offered by climatic conditions of the vintage.

Palmer’s 2008 Grand Vin was superb and, quite honestly, this, their second wine, is not far behind. Produced from younger vines at the famous Palmer estate, this Merlot-dominated blend (52 percent Merlot and 48 percent Cabernet Sauvignon) blend displays all the characteristics of the first wine and demonstrates the superb terroir which Palmer has.

There is a lovely depth of fruit and spice on the palate with fabulous concentration and focus with a wonderfully long finish. With a nose of blackberry, pencil lead and crushed black pepper it has real complexity and interest. On the palate it shows incredible balance and richness with fabulous texture and length. Offering intense, crispy and juicy fruits, Alter Ego is a spontaneous uninhibited wine, soft and round as soon as it has finished its 18 months of barrel ageing. Its lush aromas and supple tannins make it a wine that can be truly appreciated.

This wine would work wonderfully with our lamb and beef dishes. If you fancy a taste of the first growth quality of the Grand Vin but at a third of the price, than the 2008 Alter Ego is for you!

Behind the scenes with our General Manager

Running a five-star retreat like The Vineyard requires excellence and dedication. Marwan Hemchaoui, General Manager, gives a little insight into what this operation entails and why wine is so important to us.

We have around 140 staff working at The Vineyard – that’s three staff to every guest so that we can provide the best possible service to each and every one. We pride ourselves on offering award-winning or world-class service in each category (whether food, wine, spa or accommodation) and for this we require excellent, positive and experienced teams.

We have an absolutely fantastic team at the hotel, all of whom are very passionate about the service they provide and whom are proud to work here. Truly, working well together is like an art and all of them – in each facility of food, wine, service, the spa and our room – dance together well!

Of course we are very passionate about wine at this hotel, our heritage being steeped in the vines of California. Not many people know that we also grow grapes in Sonoma county – Peter Michael Winery was set up by our owner Sir Peter Michael – and the ethos of the Californian lifestyle is in everything we do.

With that, I often get asked what my favourite wine is. With so many good wines available, I find it a difficult question to answer. It depends on the time of day, if with food, and the season. It is a pleasure to sample a new producer, grape or style, because I think winemaking is a real art with many creations to enjoy. I am especially fond of L’Esprit Des Pavots from Peter Michael Winery. But, to me, wine is a socialising thing and I believe that the company and atmosphere truly make a good wine great.

Fine rosé from the heart of Provence

Our wine list features benchmark rosés from the Old World, including celebrated Ch. D’Esclans from Provence, the ‘finest rosés on the planet’, according to Matthew Jukes. It is time to take rosé wine increasingly seriously. Here we learn a little more.

Historically, rosés were seen as fun, unsophisticated and the great addition to a girls’ night out. Fast forward a few years and premium rosé is one of the fastest growing categories. This is thanks in part to a host of Old World stalwart producers crafting some serious bottles, with the notoriety to raise them on to the big stage.

Pink, blush or rosé wine – whatever your preferred name- is now seen as a serious industry, and as Jancis Robinson attests, this is thanks in part to the efforts of Sacha Lichine and his team at Château d’Esclans who have set the bar and raised ambition among producers.

In the heart of Provence, Lichine and his compatriot Patrick Leon (previously winemaker and managing director at Mouton Rothschild) purposely tried to craft a world class winery that made the world’s best rosé – and it is widely believed that they succeeded.

Indeed, according to Matthew Jukes, Ch. D’Esclans from Côtes de Provence produce among the finest rosés on the planet. We’re inclined to agree – so much so that we’ve chosen to offer three wines from this infamous château on our wine list (which, we are very proud to say, just won European Hotel Wine List of the Year).

Made using Old Vine Grenache, as this high altitude site is known for, the vines are hand picked and blended with Vermentino. Top cuvées are aged in oak – and are capable of ageing. Generally, good rosé is not heavy or overtly sweet but fresh, dry and offers a complex aroma of herbs, fruits and a balanced acidity. These bottlings offer all this and more.

One thing has remained true throughout – these wines are ideal served chilled outside with, or without, food in the summer sun.

Fresh, delicious, seasonal asparagus

Locally-sourced and seasonal produce is absolutely our aim, with 90 percent or more of our foodstuffs hailing from Britain, and local farmers very much being our main suppliers. Executive Chef Daniel Galmiche has ‘picked’ the star vegetable of the moment- asparagus.


May heralds asparagus season

Late spring is harvest time for asparagus, both green and white – a mere seven or eight week season – and the best is whatever you can buy locally. You can often get hold of it throughout the year, but as ever I like to get seasonal, locally sourced produce, not only because it truly does taste better.

Green asparagus has more of an intense nutty flavour than white varieties and really works well with creamier sauces, such as hollandaise. I like to keep the flavours simple so you can appreciate the freshness and flavour of this wonderful vegetable.

Preparation is key and often it will naturally snap between your fingers at just the right place – to do this, when you cut it, hold a spear from both ends and bend.

When you cook asparagus, remove the bundle from the pan and plunge it into ice cold water. This helps to keep the chlorophyll (and therefore the goodness and colour) locked in.

Depending on how it is prepared, this vegetable is best served with a lovely glass of medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc, such as white Graves when served simply, or white Burgundy when served with Hollandaise sauce. Currently we have a number of asparagus dishes available at The Vineyard.

And…when the asparagus season is over, leeks make a great alternative!

Get your body Summer-ready

Our experienced head therapist Kirsty Hughes imparts her wisdom and suggests some do-it-yourself treatments to help you get ready for the sunny season. Here is the first of three excerpts from her over the forthcoming three weeks – just in time for the longest day of the year!

Summer Ready

With the shops starting to optimistically display barbecues at this time of year, and the British Summer calendar around the corner (cricket, Henley, Wimbledon, Ascot and Glyndebourne to name a few), the social summer season is almost here. Happily, we can look to wear summer dresses, sandals and pretty shawls. With our feet and skin about to be on show, it’s time to get our body-best for the summer. Here are some top tips to slip into your routine and soon it will be second nature.

Perhaps the least cared-for part of the body over the colder months are the feet. They deserve pampering; after all, they do serve us very well! It is so easy to care for them, too. Just set aside some you-time and follow the tips below.

Pumice stones gently remove hard areas, and nightly moisturising (pop some socks on after to keep the moisture in) helps to soften skin and get rid of any super-dry patches.
Mavala’s Hydro-Repairing Foot Cream (£12) is ideal to resolve dry or cracked skin.

Our toes’ cuticles need attention too, and caring for them straight after a shower or bath is best, because they are soft and can be pushed back easily. For more stubborn cuticles you can use Mavala Cuticle remover (£11).

Summery nail colours on toes really add a touch of glamour. I always apply a base coat to stop colour staining and help the colour apply evenly to your nail. Two coats of colour varnish and then a top coat seals the colour in to extend its life. Reapply every few days to prolong the life of the paint. Sit back and relax as it takes around 45 minutes for the paint to become rock solid.

If all this sound like too much effort then treat yourself to a Deluxe Pedicure (£50 for 55 minutes) and let us do the hard work. Your feet will be exfoliated, nails shaped, cuticle work, massage, a paraffin mask and last of all a paint. Your shoulders also get treated with a heated body wrap to ensure you have a relaxing time.

Top 5 Chilled Red Wines


Top 5 Chilled Red Wines by Yohann Jousselin, Head Sommelier

I believe that chilling some types of red wines can help the wine to perform better in all of its elements. As a result of cooling a light red wine, the fruit’s aromas often rise in intensity and the alcohol feels slightly milder.

Below is a selection of wines from our restaurant wine list that I would definitely suggest to cool down beforehand in order to enjoy them in their full capacity – especially if the weather stays this warm for another few days…

1. Chinon, Desbourdes, L’Arpentry, Loire Valley, France, 2007 (£37)
Made from Cabernet Franc, this wine shows an intense panel of stony fruits as well as a hint of black pepper.

2. Weingut Dr Heger, Q Sonett, Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir), Baden, Germany, 2008 (£62)
A very light, fresh and delicate wine with lovely notes of red berries.

3. Moric, Blaufrankisch, Burgenland, Austria, 2010 (£44)
Made from a local grape variety, this wine offers some ripe summer fruits aromas.

4. Fleurie, Domaine de la Madone, Beaujolais, France, 2010 (£34)
A very good example of Gamay from the southern part of Burgundy , this wine shows a very juicy palate and some soft tannin.

5. Ma Maison, Pinot Noir, Martinborough, New Zealand, 2010 (£39)
From a cooler climate area of New Zealand, this Pinot Noir is aromatic and fresh with notes of red fruits.

I hope you get time to enjoy some of these wines, but if you prefer to be served in ’Taste’, our new informal dining space, come and see us at The Vineyard!

– By Yohann Jousselin MS

Up and Coming Events in September 2012

Saturday 8th September – Ascot Food and Wine Festival

If you’re planning a visit to the Ascot races, this weekend is the ideal one to go. The Ascot Food and Wine Festival offers visitors a day filled with races, food demonstrations, numerous stalls with local products, and of course, wine tastings. Renowned Chef Valentine Warner as seen on BBC2 and ITV, will be at the racecourse throughout the day, doing demonstrations such as ‘Trout with Chanterelles and Artichokes’. Moreover, the Shop ‘n Drop service allows you to buy products at the stands throughout the day, and pick them up at the end of the event so as to avoid carrying around your wares all day. For more information, click here.

Monday 10th September – Ladies Lunch – Life as a Race Horse Trainer

Richard Philips, who was an assistant trainer to Henry Candy, set up in his own right almost twenty years ago and has been extremely successful on the flat and over jumps during this time. He is acquainted with a great many influential characters in the racing world, and will be speaking about the life, encounters and experiences of a trainer. The lunch is £60 per person, and can be booked by calling 01635 528770.

Monday 10th September – Ladies Wine Club: Wine and Fashion, How Does it Work?

Wine, women and Yohann. If that sounds like a good time, then we’d strongly recommend you join our Ladies Wine Club. Ideal for those who enjoy wine and would like to learn more about it in a friendly and informal atmosphere, this is also a great way to meet other like-minded ladies.
3pm-5pm. £30 per person. Please call 01635 528770 to reserve your place.

15th & 16th September – Royal County of Berkshire Show 2012

Undoubtedly one of the largest events in the County of Berkshire, one can see everything from chickens to llamas, horse driving to pig-showings. Some of Britain’s best foods will be available at numerous stands, complete with cookery demonstrations and tastings. Impressive performances in show jumping and the great spectacle of Livestock Grand Parade finally round up the day. Celebrate some of the proudest agriculture the countryside has to offer! For more information or to purchase advance tickets, visit their website.

Saturday 22nd September – Dubai Duty Free International & Party in the Paddock with Lionel Richie

Global superstar Lionel Richie will bring the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend to a close with a live Party in the Paddock concert following the last race. With seven races including three group races this raceday promises to be a cracker! For tickets and more information, click here

Friday 28th September – Piedmont Wine Dinner at The Vineyard

This month at The Vineyard, we celebrate Piedmont, one of the most renowned wine regions of Italy where wine quality hits a unique high. Join us for a fabulous evening of food and wine pairing featuring two of the best local Piedmont winery estates: Poderi Colla with its famous Barolo ‘Dardi le Rose’ and Marchesi di Gresy will present its exquisite Barbaresco called ‘Martinenga’. We will be joined by Master Sommelier, Nigel Wilkinson, will guide us through the wines during this unforgettable evening.

Tickets are at £95 per person and can be booked by calling 01635 528770.
Please click here for a preview of the menu.