A Vintage Year at The UK’s Wine Hotel
21 Dec 2015
• 2015 Celebrations for Peter Michael Winery Winning Top Wine Award
• 2016 Recommendations from The Vineyard Head Sommelier for a Vintage Year Ahead
Just an hour from central London, the five-star Vineyard near Newbury in Berkshire is the UK’s leading wine hotel and a must for lovers of fine food and wine.
Amongst some 30,000 bins in the Vineyard’s striking glass wine cellar, over 800 Californian wines are available on the list including a unique collection from Sir Peter Michael’s first ever vineyard in Sonoma County, California. However it is a wine from the more recently acquired family-owned Oakville Au Paradis vineyard in the Napa Valley that has been honoured with a recent award by the highly regarded US publication Wine Spectator.
Au Paradis, a Cabernet Sauvignon from 2012 won the prestigious Wine Spectator 2015 Wine of the Year award selected as it ‘epitomises the modern style of Napa cabernet.’ Planted on a gently sloping plateau, 14.6 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon (and Cabernet Franc) develop the lush, intense fruit under perfect location of a sun-drenched Californian hillside. The wine is available at The Vineyard Hotel and priced £290.00.
Wines, regions and countries to watch in 2016
The Vineyard’s Head Sommelier Romain Bourger has highlighted his recommendations for some very special wines and wine regions to watch for 2016. All of the wines below are available from the hotel’s unparalleled wine cellars.
Alsace Riesling Grand Cru – Alsace Riesling Grand Cru, André Kientzler, Geisberg, Alsace, France, 2004
The Kientzler domaine is a small family-run estate consisting of just 12 hectares of vines, of which 3.7 hectares are classified Grand Cru. Riesling and Gewürztraminer make up about half of the families vineyards. The exceptional terroir brings a fantastic minerality with notes of ripe tree fruits and citrus, a linear acidity and slightly oily texture on the palate.
Californian red wines 2012 – Moraga, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bel Air, Los Angeles County, CA, 1994
Established in 1989 Moraga’s 1994 vintage is said to be the “unquestioned pinnacle” of the vineyard’s winegrowing achievements. The wine is perfumed and delicate with a great concentration. Despite its age it is very youthful with great aromas of cassis, cedar wood and plums.
Greece: Estate Argyros, Assyrtiko, Santorini, Greece, 2013
Greece is producing some unusual wines, which are well balanced, versatile and have proved to be excellent when paired with food. Assyrtiko is also used to produce some incredible dessert wines and is dry, aromatic with generous aromas of ripe citrus, tropical fruits and a chalky finish. It is also a great complement to seafood due to its freshness.
Hungary: Egri Bikaver, Boliky, Eger, Hungary, 2011
The English translation for this particular wine is bull’s blood. According to the legend, the name originates from the invasion of Suleiman the Magnificent around 1552. To motivate and support the small group of soldiers during the Siege of Eger castle, they were served large quantities of delicious food and red wine. Among the Turkish soldiers it was rumoured that bull’s blood was mixed into the red wine, as otherwise the strength and firm resistance of the town and castle of Eger could not be explained. The wine is mainly made from the local Kekfrankos variety has a medium body with lots of ripe berry and summer fruit as well as a touch of leather and forest floor.
Portugal: Bairrada, Filipa Pato, Calcario, Nossa, Beiras, Portugal, 2013
Best known for its Port, Portugal also produces wines made from local varieties. Their production includes everything from light, dry and crisp whites to powerful reds with a fabulous ageing ability.
This highly regarded family owned estate in the bairrada region is located just south of the Vinho Verde area, west of the Dao region. The wine has a very chalky minerality with aromas of tangerine, ripe yellow peach and yellow apples. The palate is oily but remains very well balanced offering a lively freshness.
Luxembourg: Domaine Mathis Bastian, Pinot Gris, Tradition, Moselle, Luxembourg, 2014
This tiny landlocked country is producing some extremely good valued wines including impressive Riesling, Pinot Gris and Cremant from grapes grown in the Moselle region near the German border. Wine production is mainly focused on white grape varieties.
This wine is youthful with a vibrant acidity and some notes of ripe yellow pears, chamomile and mango. The palate is dry with a slightly yeasty note an oily texture.
England: Gusbourne, Pinot Noir, Kent, England, 2011
England is becoming well known for the production of sparkling wine but does produce some amazing still wines. In terms of red, Pinot Noir gives very good results.
The established Gusbourne Estate in Appledore, Kent, dates back to 1410 and was taken over in 2004 by Andrew Weeber with the goal of producing an English sparkling wine which would stand up to its worldwide equivalents. This Pinot Noir has a lovely concentration of ripe summer fruit such has redcurrant, cassis, red cherry and blackberry as well as a touch of spice. The palate is soft and silky with a great balance.
The Vineyard’s Taste of Winter break includes a night in a Luxury Double room, based on two sharing, with full use of the hotel’s boutique spa with a swimming pool and wine-themed treatments (extra cost) from £114.50 per person with breakfast and a bottle of Californian red wine to take home. Please call 01635 528 770 to book. The break is valid until 31st March 2016.
The Vineyard, Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8JU 01635 897589
Accommodation and breakfast is priced from £247 based on two guests