Icon Wine of the Week: Château Lagrange from St. Julien

Bordeaux is one of the most revered and long-standing wine regions in the world. St Julien, situated on the Left Bank, is no exception, producing Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated reds.

St Julien

Château Lagrange was known in the Middle Ages as the Noble House of Lagrange Montei. Records of the successive owners go back as far as 1631. In 1824 the total production was 120 barrels (12 000 cases). In 1842, the ex-Home Secretary to King Louis-Philippe, Count Duchatel, left his mark on the property and the Médoc by introducing a drainage system in the vineyard. This helped improve the wine immensely. While drainage in vineyards is common today, that was very forward thinking in 1842.

The Count brought the annual production up to 300 barrels. This was a golden age for Lagrange, with the famous 1855 classification awarding the property the title of Third Classified Growth. The beginning of the 20th century was much less glorious as the economic conditions deteriorated. Despite several changes in ownership the yields were lower and of lesser quality. A decline in business meant the estate had to be broken up from 280 hectares (around 700 acres) in 1840, the domain had been reduced to 157 hectares (392 acres) by December 1983, when the Japanese group Suntory bought it from the Cendoya family, owners since 1925.

Lots of floral, berry and raspberry character on the nose lead to a medium- to full-bodied, with well-integrated tannins and a fresh finish. Aromas of tobacco, smoke, cigar box, blackberry and cedar wood personality. The tannins are ripe, the fruit is ample and fresh, finish with a spicy, cassis and pomegranate note. Lovely wine. Round and refined.

Great with our chef’s lamb and beef.

Icon Wine of the Week: 2005 Gevrey Chambertin

Gevrey-Chambertin is a town in the Côte de Nuits producing some of Burgundy’s most renowned red wines. This weekend, our wine team introduce a 2005 from this town, available by the glass.

Gevrey Chambertin

With 400 hectares of vineyard area this is the largest wine-producing region in the Côte d’Or. Gevrey Chambertin wines are sturdier, bigger and heavier than those of their neighbours Vosne-Romanée.

The 2005 Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Cinq Terroirs perpetuates the practice of combining the fruit from Au Velle, En Motrot, Combe du Dessus, En Deree and En Champs (all downhill from Champeaux on the north side of Gevrey) into a single and – at least in this instance- highly synergistic village wine, representing nearly half of the estates total acreage. Fruit from these sites are co-fermented in two lots segregated by age of vine, and then blended.

This fine wine is fresh, very ripe and moderately earthy nose that features ripe black fruits with carnal, fungal, and mineral nuances combine for a clear, bright, satin-textured, and substantially-concentrated impression, free of any superficial sweetness and successfully resisting the influence the all new barrels.

Long, rolling low tones of black fruits and forest floor complete a picture very 2005 in its combination of bright fresh fruit acids with dark, even slightly sombre hues of flavour. There is ample mid-palate fat that does a fine job of buffering the relatively fine underlying structure and this should be approachable young but have the capacity to age.

Icon Wine of the Week: 2010 Sassicaia

The original “Super Tuscan”,  2010 Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido Incisa della Rocchetta from Bolgheri in Tuscany, Italy welcomes in the first weekend of advent. Warm, rich and lustrous, this is the ideal winter warmer by our fire. One of our wine team, Michael Meyers, tells us more.

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Sassicaia is the only single estate wine in Italy with its own appellation – Bolgheri Sassicaia. It was the original “Super Tuscan” and is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, aged for 24 months in French barriques, of which these days ony 20% are new.

Mario Incisa della Rochetta, part of a grand old Italian family who’s roots extend back to the Renaissance and beyond, and cousin of the Antinoris, married Clarice della Gherardesca in 1930 and with his wife came some land in Bolgheri. The story of Sassicaia was just beginning. Mario dreamed of making a wine like the grand vins of Bordeaux and, noticing a similarity between his Bolgheri vineyards and those of the Graves, decided to plant some Cabernet Sauvignon. In the early years the wine was just for consumption on the estate and was not always well appreciated. Fortunately, a few cases were put away to age with each vintage and, once time had worked its magic, it became clear that these were wines that only truly showed their majesty with a few years in bottle.

The first vintage released for commercial sale was the 1968 and it transformed Tuscan wine and has given rise to a host of imitators and rivals. Sassicaia is now revered, not only as one of the best wines in Italy, but as one of the best wines in the world.

The 2010 Sassicaia is intensely saline, savoury and energetic. Rosemary, sage, plums and black cherry notes meld into graphite, crushed rocks and a host of other more mineral-inflected nuances. This red is very aromatic with currant, dried berry, cocoa bean, and hints of wood. It’s full-bodied, with intense yet very polished tannins and a long finish. It’s very refined and beautiful with a tangy finish. The Cabernet Franc comes through here at the finish.

This is great with lamb and beef.

Local Events This December

December heralds a plethora of festive fun. We’ve picked our six of the best local events and activities happening in the area for you to enjoy.

Local events


Watermill Book Club – The Story of Alice
Tuesday 1st December
Opening time: 7pm
Call: 01635 46044
Ticket prices apply

A good part of our cultural heritage is based on wonderland, and artists, poets, writers and many others have used this theme for over a century. Among this heritage sits the complex history of the author Charles Dodgson, the quiet academic, and his better-known counterpart, Lewis Carroll – storyteller and innovator. This author dreamed up Alice Liddell’s fictional alter ego in the seminal storybook that has spanned generations.
In this evening, Professor Robert Douglas-Fairhurst uses previously unpublished material to bring the timeless legend of ‘Alice’ to light.


Wine School at The Vineyard – Christmas Wines
Wednesday 2nd December
Opening times: 630pm to 8pm
£30 per person

This evening is quite simple. A collection of bottles suitable for the festive lunch and some tips on what to match with, serving ideas, plus a host of tips on making the most important lunch of the year stress-free!


Champagne Jazz Lunch at The Vineyard
Sunday 13th December
Opening times: 12pm to 4pm
£55 per person

The perfect way to begin the festive celebrations;live jazz, great food and unlimited Champagne! Sit back, relax and listen to the soulful sounds of jazz whilst enjoying a three course lunch and unlimited** Champagne with friends and family.
**Unlimited Champagne will only be served during lunch from starter to dessert.


Dick Whittington At The Corn Exchange
27th November 2015 to 3rd January 2016
Call: 0845 5218 218
Ticket prices apply

The 2015 Corn Exchange Christmas Pantomime is full of adventure, danger and magic. Joined by his cat and Sarah the Cook, Dick Whittington is trying to seek his fortune. Will he defeat the devilish King Rat, or save his love, Alice? Sure to be lots of fun and laughter, some performances are sold out already so book your tickets quickly!


A Merry Christmas At Basildon Park
28th November 2015 to 5th January 2016
Opening Times: 10:00 – 15:00
Call: 01491 672382
Ticket prices apply

This Georgian Mansion, surrounded by parkland, will be beautifully decorated for Christmas. Explore the wintery gardens with their trail and see the lovingly restored mansion with fine paintings, fabrics and furniture which you can still see today. Make the most of your visit by treating yourself to cream tea, explore the refined house, or breathe in the fresh air by taking one of their marked trails through the 400 acres of historic parkland.


New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner at The Vineyard
31st December
Six courses with matching latitude wines, live band, dancing, fireworks and nibbles at midnight.
£249 per person

Join us this New Year’s Eve as we take you on a food and wine matching journey exploring and enjoying wines from 30 to 50° north and south of the equator. Wines flourish between these latitudes and vineyards produce wines of the highest quality. Together with a specially created menu, celebrate New Year’s Eve with New and Old World wines hand-picked by our sommelier team to perfectly match with each course.


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.

Nebbiolo

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.

 Sauternes

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!

Winter Nails Competition

This November, we have a special beauty competition courtesy of specialist nail care company Mavala!

MavalaMavala is a world-renowned nail care specialist company founded in 1958 and based in Switzerland. As the world leader in nail care with a heritage spanning over 50 years the Vineyard Spa work alongside them to care for our clients’ nails. Winter is a good a time as any to care for your nails and make sure that they remain looking tip-top. So as a special Winter treat we have a November compeititon to win a win a fantastic Mavala nail care kit by answering the following question:

What can happen to our nails in Winter if they are not maintained?

a) they become dry
b) the become brittle
c) they can break
d) all three

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Please enter the competition by 31st November 2015, by emailing competitions@the-vineyard.co.uk and answering the question above. Don’t forget to quote ‘Spa’ in your email!

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Terms and Conditions

No cash alternative given. If no correct answers are given we reserve the right to extend the competition. Prize available to be collected from The Vineyard Spa.

Christmas With Darphin

Skincare empire Darphin’s Christmas gift sets are exquisite. Famed for using the finest natural botantical ingredients sourced from the four corners of the globe, this understated yet avant-garde, nature-based shincare house is the ideal gift of luxury – and function.

The exquisite aromas of noble botanicals so key to Darphin is not just for sensory pleasure. For instance – the rose petals used in Darphin’s distillation process are picked just as they are unfolding in the early hours of dawn. And it takes thousands of rose blossoms to produce one single ounce of our precious essential oil.

What makes Darphin one of the leading skingcare specialist is that they begin with the finest ingredients with no compromise on quality or cost. And like the craftsman of fine wine, they craft formulas according to tradition and science – to release the ingredient’s potency then to preserve its integrity.

This Christmas, we are lucky enough to offer three of their giftsets, which, depending on skin type, are .

Firstly, SDarphintimulskin Plus Giftset contains a luxurious and total anti-aging skincare collection that targets all the parameters of aging skin to help skin recover a divine youthful appearance. Included is the Multi-corrective Divine Cream, and the 8 Flower Oil which is perfection for anti-aging, as well as a Divine Eye cream for that smart firm lift.Ideal Resource

The Essential Giftset is fantastic for those who want skin to reveal a fresh radiant glow: an anti-aging and radiance set. The skin texture is redefined and velvety, wrinkles and lines are smoothed and filled out, revealing day after day a youthful radiant skin. With this you receive a skin cream as well as Darphin’s newly improved Radiance boosting serum and Eye Illuminator.

ExquisageThe Exquisage Giftset is a beauty-revealing set: formulated especially for ladies who feel they’ve reached their best age yet whatever that may be. This contains a Beauty revealing cream, infusing a new life to skin, revealing and enlivened and exquisite complexion. With this, you receive the sublime Jasmine oil and beauty revealing serum.

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.

Brewery

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.