All posts by TVSAdmin

October 2013 Events

The BIG DRAW at The Corn Exchange, Newbury
Tuesday 1st – Thursday 31st October 2013
Over 200,000 people participate in the Big Draw annually. The Corn Exchange and New Greenham Arts are really excited to be involved this year! The Campaign for Drawing is an independent charity which raises the profile of drawing as a tool for thought, creativity, social and cultural engagement. The official Big Draw weekend is 5th and 6th October, and in conjunction with three of their Studio 8 Artists they will be running a series of workshops for you to go and draw your response to this year’s Big Draw theme, which is “Draw Tomorrow”.
For more information
or call 0845 5218218.

An Audience with Dame Diana Rigg DBE at Watermill Theatre
on Friday 4th October 2013
The Watermill Theatre is delighted to welcome Dame Diana Rigg who will talk about her book, No Turn Unstoned – a collection of “the worst theatrical reviews in history”. Following an uncouth comment about her nude scene in Abelard by critic John Simon, Dame Diana was inspired to pen No Turn Unstoned. This collection of vicious reviews by theatre critics became a bestseller and cult favourite in 1982. A book that no theatre lover can put down! Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear Dame Diana talk about No Turn Unstoned and join her afterwards in the bar for a glass of bubbly and cake.
Tickets are £45 per person
to book please call the box office 01635 46044 
or visit

Beerfest 2013 at Bucklebury Village 
Saturday 5th October 2013
The 5th annual Bucklebury Beerfest is to be held at the Recreation Ground, Bucklebury Village, in aid of the Victory Room charity. Last year the amount raised was in excess of £4,000, the crowds were out to enjoy the family-fun atmosphere, visiting the 17 trade and community group stands, listening to the live music, and of course sampling the local beer and cider.
Entrance is free and the event is open from 1pm to 10pm.
For more info please visit

Afternoon Tea with Darphin at The Vineyard
Supporting the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign (BCAC)
Sunday 6th October – 3.30pm to 5.30pm
Join us and Darphin and enjoy Afternoon Tea with Nyetimber sparkling wine, beauty talks and demonstrations. A £5 donation will be given to BCAC for every purchase of Darphin Silky Moisturizing Lotion and every spa treatment booked on the day.
£22.50 per person
Please call The Vineyard Spa on 01635 589415 to reserve your place
Discover more:

Thatcham Festival of Arts and Leisure 
Saturday 12th to Friday 25th October 2013
This year the Festival has been extended to being 14 days long and there are over 65 activities for people to enjoy at various venues around Thatcham. On the first day of the Festival in Thatcham town centre there will be a Leisure & Craft Fair held across The Broadway Green, the Parish Hall, St Mary’s Church and the Priory Gardens. Head out of the town centre to visit the Henley’s Allotments Open Day, the Thatcham Classic Car Show at Dunston Green, an art exhibition at the Old Bluecoat School or the Stamp Fair at the Memorial Hall. Free activities and fun for all the family to enjoy!
A full programme of events is available now from Newbury Tourist Information Centre, The Wharf, Newbury.
or visit

Ladies’ Lunch at The Vineyard Hotel
14th October
Johannes von Stumm

Join German born Sculptor, Johannes von Stumm, now living in Berkshire, who has attracted public and critical acclaim with the unique combination of three different materials (iron, granite and glass) in two decades of successful exhibitions, both in Britain and abroad. You will find his ‘Arches’ sculpture at The Vineyard in our Atrium Foyer.Enjoy a three course lunch with matching wines.
£60 per person.
Please call Ami on 01635 589407 to book. or click here for more information

An Introduction to Croatian Wines Masterclass at The Vineyard Hotel
17th October 12pm to 4pm
With a history dating back to Ancient Greek settlers, Croatia has a rich wine tradition. Join us for this masterclass to learn about this fairly unknown wine producing region. After the masterclass, enjoy a delightful three course lunch with wine pairings and hear from Mundy Cruising and Paul Gauguin Cruises about their Croatian wine tasting cruise onboard Tere Moana.
£65 per person
Please call Ami Williams on 01635 589407 to book.

Wine Festival Weekend at The Vineyard Hotel
18th – 20th October 2013
18th – Wine Festival Dinner
Five courses with two matched wines per course
£95 per person
19th – Wine Festival Tasting
Taste over 150 wines from around the world and enjoy a light lunch
From £45 per person*
Masterclasses throughout the day from £5 per class
Please contact us on 01635 897738 to book your tickets
Click here to discover more

Giant Pumpkin Hunt at Bucklebury Farm Park 
Friday 25th October to Monday 4th November 2013
Go pumpkin hunting! Take a walk on the wild side through the new spooky woodland maze, play seasonal games in the haunted house, take part in Halloween craft workshops or have your face painted. Enjoy the usual attractions including the adventure playground which has a challenging cable way together with a high tree house, climb around a castle or have fun in the sandpit.
Adults £8.95, children and OAP’s £7.95.
For more information please visit

WSET Level 1 Award in Wine at The Vineyard Hotel
Day course
27th Oct 2013
Learn more about wine in one of the UK’s wine hotels and gain an internationally recognised wine qualification whilst enjoying fine wine and dining at The Vineyard.
The day course includes:

  • a full day’s training WSET Level 1 Award in Wine training including exam and wines
  • Three course lunch with matching wines in our restaurant
  • Tour of our 30,000 bottle cellars

£150 per person
Click here to discover more about the WSET course

Please contact Ami Williams on 01635 589407 to book

Creepy Cruises at Kennet and Avon Canal
Monday 28th October to Friday 1st November 2013
Halloween horrors aboard the Jubilee narrowboat this October half-term. Dare you go aboard? Children are encouraged to dress-up in Halloween costumes to trick or treat the boat crew. There’ll even be ghost stories as you cruise (not too scary though!) This is going to be a spooky spectacle so make sure you don’t miss out by buying your tickets today from Newbury Tourist Information Centre.
Trips will last for one hour and will run once a day at 2pm.
Prepare to be spooked!!
Adults £6, Children £3.50, for more info please call 01635 30267 
or visit

Inspiring Away Day

Guest Blog – Enham Trust

Managers from the prestigious Vineyard and Donnington Valley hotels had an inspiring day visiting the disability charity Enham Trust last month.

Thirty four senior managers were invited to the Trust, which is based south of Highclere, as part of the company’s social responsibility programme.

They volunteered to do some redecorating, and spruced up interior corridors at the Trust’s residential care homes.

They also had a chance to meet Enham’s disabled residents at a BBQ and were bowled over by the positive vibe and the high levels of independence amongst the residents, who live with a number of different physical and learning disabilities.

“Everyone was impressed with the work being done at Enham,” said Emma Jenkins, The Vineyard’s HR Director. “We learned so much and want to be involved with the charity in the future.  Our next project there may be joining forces with their gardening activities.”

“Most people are not born with a disability. It could be any one of us who has an accident or an illness which leaves us unable to manage. Enham Trust is there to help disabled people manage every aspect of their lives,” said Vicky Hamlen, The Trust’s Corporate Fundraiser. “Support from companies like The Vineyard Group is so important, and we really value their time and interest.”

Many of the charity’s clients, whose ages span 18 to 90, come from West Berkshire. The Trust offers a wide range of living, care, employment and community support to give disabled people choice in how they live their lives, and the ability to achieve high levels of independence.

Cathy Alexander
Enham Trust

Relax this autumn and support a great cause

Finally we have had a proper summer and I hope you have all had the chance to enjoy it and soak up some rays (with sun protection). Before you wrap your body back up in leggings and winter woollies, why not treat your body to one of Darphin’s new body treatments:

Personalised Refining Body Polish 40mins / £55

The products used in this treatment will be personalised to your needs and consists of a full body exfoliation using massage moves that also help to relax muscles. The treatment doesn’t end there as after showering your therapist will use the same massage moves to apply a cream to leave you with perfectly soft and nourished skin. Discover more

This treatment is definitely one of our favourites as our skin felt amazing afterwards and the massage moves are really relaxing.

We are also just launching our yearly big event for this year, which we have decided to do in aid of breast cancer awareness. The details for this event are detailed below and I do encourage anyone to come along as it is going to be a fun afternoon for a great cause.

Afternoon Tea with Darphin

in support of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Sunday 6th October – 3.30pm to 5.30pm

Join us and Darphin for the afternoon and enjoy delicious cakes, pastries, tea and a glass of Nyetimber sparkling wine whilst finding out more about the importance of sleep and how it helps to reduce stress and regenerate your skin.

There will also be demonstrations on self-body massage and the most effective way to apply your night skincare using Ideal Resource Overnight Cream.

During this event and throughout October, Darphin will make a £5 donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for every purchase of the Darphin Silky Moisturizing Lotion.

Plus, book any treatment on the day and The Vineyard Spa will donate £5 for every booking made to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

£22.50 per person

Please call us on 01635 589415 to book your place* as soon as you can as places for this event are limited.

Hope to see you there

Kirsty Hughes
Spa Manager

*Full payment is required in advance to secure your place and is non-refundable.

Best of British – September 2013

There is such an abundance of exceptional distilleries and producers cropping up in the UK now, that here at The Vineyard we wanted to give you the opportunity to taste the best of them.  Each month throughout 2013 we are working with a different distillery to showcase the best of what Britain has to offer. 

This month we introduce: Whitley Neill Gin

Descending from a long line of brewers and distillers with a heritage spanning eight generations since 1762, Johnny Neill created, in 2005, a gin “Inspired by Africa and crafted in England”.

The gin has recently undergone a major face-lift and has been, since its creation, a firm favourite here at The Vineyard. 

It is a truly unique style of gin that uses eight carefully selected botanicals including baobab fruit and cape gooseberries (physalis).  These two flavours help to make a very fruity and well-rounded product.  Along with these innovative African fruits, Johnny blends a mix of classic London Dry botanicals such as juniper, coriander, lemon and orange.

Johnny has been a great friend of The Vineyard for many years and lives just down the road from the hotel. We are very pleased to offer you the chance to sample his gin in some of our very own twists on classic drinks.

Firstly, the Cape 75 which has featured on our list for around 18 months now; it’s is a mix of freshly crushed cape gooseberries (which are used to flavour the gin), lemon juice and sugar.  We shake these ingredients together; double strain them into a flute and then top with Taittinger Champagne.

The second is a twist on the classic Dry Martini; to make the Whitley Martini. We stir a large measure of Whitley Neill gin with Cocchi Americano (vermouth which uses quinine as a flavouring) and a few drops of Peychaud Bitters.

In celebration of this wonderful gin we have also added a Whitley Neill G&T to our ‘Perfect Serve’ gin and tonic list (see page 11 of the bar list) where we blend the it with Fever Tree Indian tonic water, plenty of ice, a slice of lemon and a few drops of rhubarb bitters.

Help us celebrate the best of all things British with Whitley Neill gin this month at The Vineyard and pop in and try one for yourself. May even stay and enjoy a few dishes from our current menu.

David Coveney
Head Barman

Events in Berkshire – September 2013

Friday 6th to Sunday 8th September 2013 – ABLAZE: A Festival of Fire at Newbury  

The Corn Exchange Outdoor Events Programme presents an immersive, magical world of fire and music that will transform the Kennet and Avon canal as it threads its way through the heart of Newbury. As night falls, you are invited to take a stroll along the waterways as they are brought to life by dozens of flickering braziers and animated by artists.

For a map and times please visit –

Monday 9th September – Ladies Lunch – Charlotte Betts

12pm to 3pm

Over a three course lunch with matching wines, listen to Hampshire based award winning author Charlotte Betts talk about her passion for writing historical fiction and her fascination with old maps, seventeenth century recipes and Samuel Pepys’s Diary. She’ll also read and give you an insight into her first two successful novels, The Apothecary’s Daughter and the sequel, The Painter’s Apprentice, plus talk about her newest novel, The Spice Merchant’s Wife, which will be published in August this year.

Please call Ami Williams on 01635 589407 to reserve your place

Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th September – Blenheim Horse Trials

The Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials are now firmly established in the eventing calendar. It has been running since 1990, attracting the world’s best riders and the thousands of spectators who come each year to watch the event.

The Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials is known as a ‘3-day event’, even though the actual event is run over four days! This is because the event is made up of three phases: Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping, with the Dressage phase taking place over the first two days.

Tickets start from just £10. Please visit their ticket information page for further details – or contact them on 01993 813335

Saturday 14th September 2013 – Newbury Real Ale Festival at Northcroft Park  

The 2013 Newbury Real Ale Festival will feature more than 200 ales and ciders from across the UK and for the first time, a selection of English wines will be available. As this is the 10th anniversary of the event they are looking to source some of the original ales from the first event back in 2003. For all the foodies, there will be the usual hog with sides and extras, freshly made doughnuts, Crown Ice Cream will be serving a range of standard 99s, ice cream sundaes and strawberries and ice cream. Families are more than welcome and there will be a face painter on site to amuse all ages!

Tickets available at entrance only, but for more info visit –

Tuesday 17th to Saturday 21st September 2013 – Romeo and Juliet at The Watermill Theatre  

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Adapted by Beth Flintoff and directed by Clive Judd. As adulthood looms and the pressures of academia mount, two students find themselves entangled in an emotionally charged and inevitably tragic relationship. With a cast of two actors in a contemporary setting, shows the relationship between Romeo and Juliet and the world around them. Workshops and a free education pack will be available to accompany the production. School Matinee performances – £7. All other tickets prices start from £7.50 for matinee performances.

For more info please visit –   

Friday 20thSeptember 2013 – The Magic of Motown at The Corn Exchange  

The Magic of Motown I’ll Be There – The 2013 Tour. The all-new show for 2013, packed with 36 back-to-back massive Motown hits. Five-star performances authentically reviving the style and sophistication of all the Detroit legends – including  the Temptations, Supremes, Four Tops, Jackson 5. Dazzling dance moves, glittering costumes galore and the incredible Magic of Motown band. Don’t miss the show of the year, just call its name and you’ll be there.  Tickets – £23 (10% discount for groups 10+.

For more information, please visit –

Friday 20th September Dubai Duty Free International Weekend at The Racecourse Newbury

One of their biggest summer weekends starts here. Join them to kick your weekend off in style!

Gates Open – 11.00

First Race – 12.30

Last Race – 5.25

Tickets: enclosure tickets are £16 to £24 and packages and hospitality tickets are £26 to £100.

For more information or to book tickets, please click here or call on 01635 40015

Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September – Royal County of Berkshire Show at Newbury Showground 

You will go a long way to find a bigger and better family event than the Royal County of Berkshire Show. This year’s event promises a diverse countryside adventure over two fun-filled days. While the skies will be alive with aerial displays from RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team (Sat only) and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (Sun only), at ground level, there will be something for everyone – from Team Extreme BMX & skateboard coaching, heavy horse displays, food fayre and show jumping to sheep shearing. Advance discounted tickets now on sale at Newbury Tourist Information Centre in the Market Place, Newbury or on 01635 30267. You can buy your tickets over the phone and they will be posted out to you.

For more info, please visit –

Monday 23rd September – The Game Season is Upon Us

6.30pm to 8pm

A guide to selecting the best bottles for all that upcoming full-bodied fare. We’ll taste wines from the old and the new world giving you a great selection to choose from. £30 per person

Please call Ami Williams on 01635 589407 to book

Friday 27th September – Wine Dinner – An Evening with Rioja Alta

7pm arrival for 7.30pm

When we think of great Spanish wines, we think of Rioja so why not join us and Armit Wines for a memorable evening of Spanish food and wine matching. Supplied by Armit Wines, all the wines we’ll taste will be from wineries that are part of the Rioja Alta Group. They are located in the country’s most renowned Designations of Origin and make wines with a great personality, which age well and are made to improve over time. 4 courses with aperitif and matching wines – £95 per person.

Please call Ami Williams on 01635 589407 to reserve your place and find out more on our website –

A Sparkling Success

We all know that English sparkling wine rates as highly as many champagnes nowadays, for its quality and flavour, but what about its ability to age and develop like great champagne?

Well, following a superb evening, hosted by Julian Kirk of Nyetimber, I think we can quite honestly and emphatically say that this was proven possible without a doubt!

We started off with the current available release Classic Cuvée 2009 as the aperitif, before moving on to some truly astounding aged wines, released especially for the evening from Nyetimber’s own cellars.

Blanc de Blancs 1996, aged and served in magnum made a fantastic combination when paired with Daniel’s foie gras starter, both having a rich, rounded texture that was sublime.

Next up was the Classic Cuvée 2005, again aged and served from a magnum as this really is the best way to keep wines for any length of time. The ’95 was a firm favourite of mine when it was originally released, but I have to say I was stunned by the honeyed peaches and soft baked spice aromas that jumped from the glass when it was first poured, showing that Nyetimber really does improve with some cellar ageing.

For the main course of lamb, it was decided that we would be one of the first people to show their most recent vintage of the Rosé 2009, only just released, but still showing a lot of youth, with a vibrant colour and masses of fresh summer berry fruit, which was sublime. Having tasted older vintages of the Rosé before, I am considering buying a case to cellar at home, as I think this showed a huge amount of potential for the future.

Finally, we rounded off the evening with dessert and were treated to the Demi-sec, a true treat as it is one of the few (or maybe only one of) estates that have the quality and capability to produce a sweeter style fizz well.

As always at these events, we were given background information, interesting insights and a running commentary of the wines by our host, Julian Kirk. It was during this time that he let us into one of their biggest secrets, a new wine soon to be released but of highly limited production, their Tillington Single Vineyard 2009, with only 2,500 bottles being released and some destined for The Vineyard, this may be the only place you’ll be able to see and enjoy it! Take a look at our Long List for all the Nyetimber wines you can enjoy here at The Vineyard.

Once again a fantastic evening enjoyed by all, with many guests already looking forward to the Rioja Alta Dinner on Friday 27th September, which also promises a great evening of delightful food and excellent wines in good company.

See you soon.

Alan Holmes

Restaurant and Wine Director

Chardonnay and the Quality Divide


“Chardonnay, chardonnay how I love you Chardonnay As I reach to hold you with my trembling hands

In my hands my trembling hands Chardonnay,
Chardonnay you’ll be glad to hear me say
I will never need you more than I do now
In my hands my trembling hands

When I’m sad sad and blue
You are my friend constant and true
I dedicate this line to you
And I would like to take you home with me

Chardonnay, Chardonnay I’m in love with your bouquet
You’re so cold but you so beautiful tonight
In my hands my trembling hands”

“Chardonnay” Written by Cook/Cornwell and performed by Cerys Matthews. Re-discovered by James Hocking

It’s the world’s most popular white wine, it’s planted and successfully cultivated everywhere, it produces some of the most sublime nectars ever created (Think DRC Le Montrachet, Marcassin Vineyard!), yet still seems to have such a stigma surrounding it in certain markets. Why?

Well the answer is quite simple. Oak. In it’s freshest form, the Chardonnay grape can be described as a citrus, tropical, refreshing style, with bags of natural acidity. Think about two key wines made with Chardonnay – Champagne and Chablis. Both relying on their delicate, crisp notes. Poles apart sit the Grand Cru’s of Burgundy and their new world counterparts from California, Australia, and California (see where this one’s going!), with ripe fruit, allied to the delicate vanilla, woodsmoke and subtle nuances that new French oak bring, albeit at a price. So here we have two styles made from the same grape and both very individual.

Now we come to the reason as to why Chardonnay is reviled by many. Most of the varietal that we see on the shelves in the supermarkets is made from fruit of a poorer quality level in the first place. Well, that’s OK in the purest form as at least the wine will have acidity and depth of flavour. Then, the juice is placed in a tank and filled with sawdust chips of oak. A cheap, efficient way to oak wine without costly barrels. The result is a sweet, low-acid, sticky wine with aromas of sawdust, tastes of sawdust and a long, lingering finish of, er, sawdust. No wonder we’re all put off!

So, what can you do? Well personally I would avoid the cheapest (sub 5-quid) bottles, especially from the new world, trade up to around £8.00 or more, and rediscover village Chablis. As a VERY general rule, spend a tenner or more and the wine has seen a proper oak barrel. And so it should!

The two wines pictured both fall into the ultra-high end, French-oaked category. Moone Tsai is from the Charles Heintz winery, Sonoma Coast and Talley is from much further south. Both are currently in stock and both are in my opinion amazing.

Happy drinking!

James Hocking
Director of Wine

Best of British – Pusser’s Navy Rum


This month we introduce Pusser’s Navy Rum. Imagine the scene, it’s 11am on the 31st of July 1970.  All across Britain, sailors are standing in silence, some wearing black arm bands all holding the last ration of rum (or tot) that they will ever receive.  It was a sad day for the Royal Navy as ‘Tots’ where buried at sea, and in one Navy camp there was a mock funeral procession complete with black coffin and accompanying piper.

It was in 1655 that the sailor’s daily ration of beer (1 gallon) was replaced with a half pint of rum.  Naturally, over time drunkenness became a huge problem for the Navy so in 1740 the ration was mixed with water in a 4:1 water to rum ratio and split into two servings per day.

In 1824 the size of the ‘Tot’ was halved to a quarter pint in an effort to improve discipline problems on board ships.  Then in 1850 the evening serving was removed from the ration reducing it to a quarter of a pint where it stayed the same for the next 120 years.

To commemorate this tradition that lasted over 300 years we have teamed up with Pusser’s Navy Rum, which is made to the exact same specifications as the rum used in the sailors daily tot, all those years ago. 

With this very British tradition in mind we have created our own ‘Daily Tot’. We blend Pusser’s Navy Rum with still water, vanilla syrup and orange bitters and stir well before serving.

Join us at The Vineyard this month and raise a toast to the Royal Navy.

David Coveney

Head Barman

My trip to Champagne and Burgundy

9th – 11th June 2013

I was lucky enough to visit a number of great wineries and Champagne houses last month with Nigel Wilkinson MS from Boutinot, Xavier Rousset MS, the owner of Texture and 28-50, Ronan Sayburn MS from the Dorchester Collection and Sergio Benito from Limewood.

Pierre Bourée winery
We arrived on Sunday 9th June and made our way to the visit the winery, Pierre Bourée in Gevrey-Chambertin village, North of Burgundy. Bernard Vallet has been the Winemaker since the 1980s so knows the estate extremely well and has a real passion for all the wines he produces. In the 19th century, Pierre Bourée took over a wine business, founded in 1864 in Gevrey-Chambertin, and gave his name to it.

They produce red and white burgundy, which age very well so I was really excited to try the Vergelesses Vallet Freres, 2011 and Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru, Vallet Frères 2000, both of which I’m looking to get onto our wine list soon.

Berthelemot winery
The next visit was to the Berthelemot winery in Meusault, Burgundy on the Monday morning. This winery is owned by Miss Berthelemot, a woman who lives in Paris and has always wanted to be in the wine business. The estate only started in 2006, but is already producing some very good wines. We tried a lot of wines, around 12 to 15, but the three that stood out for me were the Meusault Les Tillets 2009, Monthelie 2010 and Beaune Clos des Mouches 2011, the last two are now available to enjoy at The Vineyard.

Champagne Gremillet
We managed to fit in another winery that afternoon much to my delight and we’re welcomed into the Champagne house, Champagne Gremillet, Balnot sur Laigne, in the Aube region. It’s a family owned 35 hectare estate established in 1979 in a small village, about 45km from Troyes. They are really passionate about producing rich, yet delicate Champagnes. We tasted seven Champagnes in total, but my two favourites would have to be

Gremillet Brut Cuvee Prestige NV: 50% Pinot Noir/50% Chardonnay
A great blend with amazing balance between the vinosity of the Pinot Noir and the delicateness of the Chardonnay.
Gremillet Brut Cuvee des Dames NV: 100% Chardonnay
An amazing champagne with notes of toast and freshly baked brioche developing some ripe stone fruits and a touch of citrus balanced with a great minerality.


Maison Lallier
The perfect end to the evening was a visit to our fourth winery of the trip; Maison Lallier. Maison Lallier is situated in Ay in the Champagne-Ardenne region. As early as around 344, the Gallo-Romans discovered the region and its vineyards. In 1936, Ay became one of the first communes in Champagne to be classed as a Grand Cru.

The house is situated at the heart of the region of Ay, over vaulted cellars dating back to the end of the 18th century. Its name comes from René James Lallier, part of the 5th generation of a very well known family in Champagne. In 2004, Francis Tribaut, a native of the Champagne region and a talented wine enthusiast, took over the business and brought a new dimension to it.

I really loved the champagne from Lallier. As a matter of fact, all their range is only produced from Grand Cru classified vineyard. All of their Champagnes are all showing a great freshness and purity, and one of my best memories has to be a magnum of the Grande Reserve NV (65%Pinot Noir/35: Chardonnay) opened and blind tasted in the cellar. The Champagne was disgorged in 1998, quite a few years ago, back to the good all days of the football world cup… and when Francis Thibaut asked us what we thought about it, I think we all thought it was an old vintage champagne such as 1995. It was developing those lovely notes of hazelnuts and toast, yet still had a great balance and freshness. So astonishing good!

Lallier’s winery
Our trip was nearly coming to an end, but we did have time to visit one more winery.This newly built winery is based in Oger, another Grand Cru village, just next door to the Bollinger winery. It was a very impressive, modern winery, but the people were traditional in their methods and really love their work. We had the exciting opportunity to taste and compare eight champagnes from four different vintages from bottles opened during their second fermentation. Four were closed with an old champagne method; the cork is closed and maintained with an ‘agraffe’


Lallier are experiencing 2nd fermentation with corks to see how the wines are reacting. And with crown; the cap used to close the champagne nowadays.

It seems that the crown closed champagnes are showing a bit more freshness and minerality.

All in all, it was a very exciting tasting!

Romain Bourger
Head Sommelier