Tag Archives: Wine Festival

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: 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.

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.

We travel to Peter Michael Winery in California

In 1982, Sir Peter Michael, owner of The Vineyard, travelled 6,000 miles, from London to Sonoma, on a mission that took him from extraordinary success in the high-tech world to a risky startup in the wine business. The winery in Knights Valley, Sonoma County, has gone from strength to strength, and  Nicolas Morlet, the winemaker, tells us more about how the last two vintages 2012 and 2013 have fared.
Peter Michael Winery in Summer

While mountain vineyards, classical winemaking and limited production are the longstanding themes at Peter Michael Winery, the growing seasons and harvest conditions do change. This makes the winemaking process ever more exciting.

For the 2012 vintage. winter and spring were wet and cold, slightly delaying bud break, flowering and fruit set. The bloom occurred in ideal weather. The climate throughout the summer was picture perfect: temperate with only moderate heat spikes. A long Indian summer of mild temperatures and sunny days was an important factor in the ripening process. Yields for the 2012 harvest were slightly higher than average for all varietals. The vintage gave us beautiful, clean, healthy grape clusters across all varietals, appellations and vineyards resulting in wines of depth and elegance and outstanding ageing potential.

For the 2013 vintage, the growing season began with a dry spring and mild temperatures similar to the previous vintage. In the first part of May, two days of violent winds damaged our Chardonnay vineyards. This resulted in uneven bloom and set, despite the otherwise ideal weather conditions. The vineyard crew carefully re-pruned the vines and executed multiple passes of green harvest. The already small crop was further reduced to one cluster per shoot, bringing the vines back into balance and ensuring the quality of the harvest. From veraison through picking, the vines enjoyed ideal ripening conditions. A long Indian summer allowed the fruit to reach perfect maturity and contributed to the exceptional quality of this small vintage.

Another Successful Wine Festival Weekend

Masterclass_1 - compressed 1

Bottles in a row - WFW14 - compressedI know I may well say this every year, but this year’s wine festival at The Vineyard seemed to surpass all previous years in terms of just about everything…food, wine, and many masterclasses aimed at helping our customers get the very best out of a bottle of wine. Our suppliers stepped up to the mark and provided a selection of truly stunning wines really indicative of our list at The Vineyard.

First off was our annual wine festival dinner. Two matched wines per course hence groaning tables of wine glasses (all Riedel of course) ready to showcase the bottles. Hard to pinpoint specifics, however feedback that I received thought that the Grüner Veltliner Steinsetz (Schloss Gobelsburg) was the star white of the evening, whilst the Mac Forbes Pinot Noir from Australia and the venison course was the pairing of the evening. The Peter Michael L’Esprit des Pavots held its ground with the cheese course also, even up against Tawny Port! To buy these wines, please contact me, James Hocking, on 01635 589414 or email me: jameshocking@vineyardcellars.com

Following that, our Saturday tasting was well-subscribed, and with an ever expanding Wine tasting 1 - compressedgroup of suppliers, the room was full of wine. Newcomers to our tasting this year were Berkmann Wines, with a decent range of Italian and Argentinean bottles, plus Clark Foyster Wines, showing a solid range from Australia, France and Portugal. We had over 150 wines open, covering all the major viticultural regions of the world. All together, 10 of our top wine suppliers helped make this event a success.

And the wine, I most wanted to take home? Champagne Taittinger kindly gave us a couple of bottles of their flagship Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs. Pure hedonistic pleasure…frankly the customers were lucky to get a look in!!

We actually have a Taittinger Champagne dinner coming up on 5th December and there are still a few places left. Please see our website for the menu and more details. It’s sure to be a great evening. Our sparkling bubbles galore wine school is also taking place on 3rd December. We hope to see you at one of our up and coming events.

We also welcomed WSET who were talking to all our guests about our popular level 1 course, but also our new intensive level 2 course, which we’re running for the first time from 6th to 8th February.


James Hocking
Director of Wine

Events in Berkshire this November

Newbury racecourse photo

Spectacular Fireworks Display at Newbury Racecourse
Saturday 1st November – 5.30pm
Newbury Racecourse will be hosting a charity fireworks display this Saturday joined by Roary the Lion and friends. There will also be other entertainment taking place during the evening.

Tickets are available from a number of shops around Newbury & Thatcham.

Under fives are free. Children and Adults £5 on the night of the display. Save and buy your tickets in advance.

Gates open at 5.30pm and the fireworks start at 7.30pm.

For further details on where to buy tickets or about the display visit their website 

Wine School – All about US Wines
Wednesday 5th November – 6.30pm to 8pm
When we think of wine from the US, California often springs to mind, but there are many other states who produce good quality wine. Let us take you on a journey across America tasting many different styles of US wine from New York, Oregon, Georgia and Washington.

£30 per person

Discover more

Twelfth Night at The Watermill Theatre
Wednesday 12th to 15th November – 7.30pm (6.30pm on 15th)
One of the events in Berkshire this November that’s definitely worth attending. The Young Company is delighted to present Shakespeare’s most famous comedy celebrating love and life in all its excesses and absurdity. Anarchy and music abound in this, the most complicated of love triangles.

Tickets – £11

Please see the website to purchase tickets and for more details

The Vineyard Wine Festival Weekend
14th November – Wine Festival Dinner – £120 per person
7pm arrival for 7.30pm
We begin the Wine Festival Weekend with a fantastic five course dinner matched with two superb wines per course selected from wineries who will be showcasing their wines for you to taste the following day. Join us for this special dinner and enjoy great food, wine and company. View menu
Five course dinner with two matched wines per course and Schramsberg Californian sparkling wine aperitif – £120 per person

15th November – Wine Festival Tasting – £25 per person
12pm to 4pm
Join us for our fifth 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 our masterclasses throughout the day. Taste and enjoy wines from Peter Michael Winery, Schramsberg, Rudd Estate, Champagne Taittinger, Boutinot, Les Caves de Pyrene and more.
Wine ticket – £25 per person
Masterclass ticket – £5 per person

Please call us on 01635 589407 to book and discover more online

Stockfest Christmas Craft Fair at Stockcross
Saturday 15th November 11am – 4pm
Stockfest Christmas Craft Fair to be held at Sutton Hall, Church Road, Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 8LN. Pop along to the Christmas gift fair with over 20 stalls selling great festive gifts for all the family. There will be refreshments suitable for everyone available such as sandwiches, Christmas cakes, mince pies and drinks.

Discover more online

The bet365 Hennessy Festival at Newbury Racecourse

27th to 29th November

The biggest race weekend in the winter social calendar is almost up on us. Get your tickets to one of the most anticipated events in racing, the world famous Gold Hennessy cup, which incorporates the competitive spirit, history and elegance of the sport in three days of thrilling horseracing.

Day One
The bet 365 Listed Intermediate Hurdle as well as the feature race, The bet365 Novices’ Chase. Tickets are available from £14.40

Day Two
The Grade 2 Fuller’s London Pride Novices’ Chase along with a strong supporting card of races.
Tickets are available from £20.

Day Three
Feel the anticipation in the air on the final day of the festival which features the historic Hennessy Gold Cup and the bet365 Long Distance Hurdle.
Tickets are available from £30

The Three Day Festival ticket is available from just £45 for the Grandstand Enclosure and £55 for Premier.

 For further details see their website 

Switching on the Christmas Lights at Newbury
Sunday 30th November
One of the last events in Berkshire this November for all the family. Join Santa to make Newbury light up with the switching of the festive lights. There will be a parade which starts at 5:30pm as well as some traditional treats such as a German bratwurst sausage stall and some mouth-watering mulled wine.

There will be live music throughout the day and stalls selling some quirky Christmas gifts, and at 6.30pm the Christmas lights switch-on will take place on Wharf Street.

There will be hot food, sweets and doughnuts available in the Market Place so come along and enjoy the fun and bring the whole family!

For further details see their website