A wine lover’s delight – The Vineyard, Stockcross, Berkshire

Wine lovers in Kensington are rather spoilt. We have the Milestone Hotel, The Royal Garden and the Kensington Wine Rooms all offering a wide variety of wines and experiences. Outside London though, just off the M40 at Newbury, is The Vineyard, a five star Relais et Chateaux hotel offering wine connoisseurs, wine lovers and novices alike, a true wine experience.

The hotel is not what you would call ‘quintessentially pretty’ – for that stick with Hartwell House, Hambleton Hall or Gravetye Manor previously featured in this magazine. But it does outdo all with the variety and types of wine on available. With over 30,000 bottles, 3000 bins and hundreds of wines on offer by the glass, the hotel is able to provide opportunity for serious wine dinners, wine tasting evenings, corporate private wine schools and ‘wine nights’.

It has hard to deny you are in a boutique ‘wine’ hotel – upon entering the reception, you are greeted with a double story height wine cellar containing 5,000 bottles. Most unnerving (but visually spectacular) is the glass floor upon which you stand looking down onto the lower level cellar. In the 3AA Rosette restaurant, our gastronomic ‘Judgement of Paris Dinner’ comprised 7 courses, with two glasses of blind wine for each course and was, according to my husband who fancies himself a wine connoisseur and foodie, “fantastic”. The Judgement of Paris was the momentous occasion in wine history, when, on 24th May 1976 top wine experts gathered together to taste six French and six Californian wines blind. Many of those who attended were amazed to find they had voted Californian wine as superior to the French. A mural in one of the meeting rooms depicts this occasion. One course was accompanied by blackened glasses, so not only was the country difficult to discerne but (rather unbelievably), also the colour.

To have seven courses and not mention any would be remiss: dishes included Leek and potato veloute with black truffle accompanied by Crozes Hermitage, Champ Morel, France 2014; Guinea fowl and partridge terrine, blood orange with walnut accompanied by Alsace PB, Marc Tempe France 2012 and Tidenham duck, heritage beetroot, quince and ginger accompanied by Bialla, Cabernet Sauvignon, California 2009. In addition to the entrance wine cellar, we were
shown around more wine vaults situated behind the main rooms of the hotel and a ‘fridge room’ on the top floor. It is probably fair to say I shall never hold a more expensive wine than the £20,000 magnum bottle of 1982 Chateau Petrus!

The rooms are generous and ours had a large seating room area with balcony overlooking the golf course, and a huge marble bathroom. If you have had enough of food and wine, there is a gym, swimming pool (indoor), Jacuzzi, steam and sauna room and treatment rooms.

The Vineyard won the European Hotel Wine List of the Year in 2015 – not surprising when their wine cellar boasts 30,000 bottles of fine wine from some of the world’s best wine producers, Sassicaia, Domaine Leflaive, Armand Rousseau to name a few In addition, the wine cellar has vintage wines including; Old and new world wines including Domaine Charles Audoin (Burgundy) and new world, Rudd Estate Mount Veeder Sauvignon Blanc (California). Unusual grape varieties, such as Orin Swift Mute which is a Californian dessert red made using native grape varieties from portugal. As I said, enough to satisfy any connoisseur, wine aficionado or novice.
The Vineyard, Stockcross, Newbury, Berks RG20
Telephone: 01635 589407

(Lucy and Stephen were guests of The Vineyard)

Images & Copyright: www.lucyelliottphotography.com

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