Tasting English Wine at Three Choirs Vineyard – An idyllic stay with fine food and wine at Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucestershire. We enjoyed a relaxing and restorative day and night at this beautiful vineyard complex with its “restaurant with rooms” and were treated to some exceptional English wines and amazingly innovative food in the Vineyard Brasserie.
Fine Food at the Vineyard Brasserie
Set amidst the rolling hills of Gloucestershire is a jewel in the English wine crown, Three Choirs Vinyeard. I know of the vineyard from my days living in Herefordshire, which is one of the neighbouring “three counties” of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Having not visited the area for many years, I was delighted to accept the opportunity to visit once again, and we travelled down there recently for a short break which included a guided tour of the vineyard, wine tasting, an evening meal, overnight accommodation with breakfast and the chance to walk around the vineyard. The Three Choirs Vineyard is nestled deep in the Cotswolds near Newent, and is one of England’s oldest and largest vineyards. Open all year with wine tasting available every day, we took advantage of visiting during English Wine Week and also stayed the night in one of their “rooms” after a delicious three course meal with wine pairings.
After a tour around the cellars and bottling plant, we were treated to a “flight of wines” to taste, all of them made from grapes that are grown in the vineyard, and made on the estate. The Three Choirs Vineyards estate is one of the largest in England sitting in 75 acres, and as I mentioned before, is also one of the oldest – the first vines were planted in 1973, and the first vintage produced in 1976. The rolling hills and valleys where the vineyard is situated provide a unique micro-climate which is perfect for growing grapes that produces great English wine. I know their sparkling wine well, the Three Choirs Classic Cuvée Brut, which is made in the traditional method, with pin head bubbles resulting from the gentle pressing and lees ageing. Our flight of wines comprised:
BACCHUS 2015, An elegant, dry and aromatic wine, with distinctive hints of elderflower and nettle on the nose, a crisp herbaceous palate and a subtle vanilla finish from the gentle oak ageing, giving a long, but delicate finish. (100% Bacchus)
WILLOW BROOK 2014, A soft, aromatic wine that combines the soft floral notes of Schonburger with the powerful richness of Siegerrebe. (Siegerrebe 44% / Seyval Blanc 17% / Schonburger 13% / Phoenix 10% / Solaris 10% / Orion 6%)
MAY HILL 2015, A medium sweet wine with distinct grapefruit on the nose and ripe citrus fruits on the palate with honeyed notes. This wine is full and well balanced, with the sweetness combining with fresh acidity to leave a clean, mouth-watering finish. ( Reichensteiner 35%/ Huxelrebe 30% / Muller Thurgau 30% / Siegerrebe 5%)
ROSÉ 2017, A refreshing, delicate rosé with ripe strawberry and raspberry aromas. On the palate the summer berry fruit is well balanced with zesty acidity to deliver a fine, complex, off-dry Rose wine. (Seyval Blanc, Regent and Madeleine Angevine)
RAVENS HILL 2016, A deep, ruby coloured red wine full of ripe blackberry and cherry fruit on the nose with a subtle hint of lightly toasted oak from the American Barrel ageing. English red berry fruit character dominate on the palate, and on the finish subtle vanilla oak character adds a degree of complexity to this cool-climate red wine. (Regent 90% / Rondo 5% / Pinot Precose 5%)
After being shown to our comfortable “vineyard view” room with terrace, we showered and went to dinner in the Brasserie. The dinner menu was fabulous with so many tempting choices on offer. In the end I started with Hot smoked sea-trout, shaved fennel and spring onions with English wasabi and Malcolm enjoyed Pressed duck and semi dried fig terrine, brioche, golden raisins and quince. He then had Grilled local sausages, creamed potato, Henry Weston’s cider gravy and a pancetta crisp for his main course and I opted for Roast sea bream, buttered samphire, crushed Cornish new potatoes in lobster oil. Both courses were superbly cooked and used local and British ingredients with provenance. We ended with a cheeseboard comprising Ragstone Goats cheese, Stinking Bishop, Perl Wen, and Hereford Hop and I also indulged in a dessert of lemon curd parfait with ginger crumb and rhubarb drizzle with ice cream.
Before dinner we took full advantage of walking around the vineyard, which has lots of lovely walks set out with maps on handy signposts. Each row of vines is planted and managed in a different way, according to the type of grape, which was hugely interesting. The walking trails also inform you of the rich and diverse flora and fauna you are likely to see on your walks, and we saw several birds of prey, a hare and some toads in the nearby pond. The rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, with each room having a private veranda. Our room had a king size bed, several easy chairs for relaxing, a well stocked tea and coffee-making area with biscuits, a television, plenty of wardrobe space and drawers and a large en-suite that was stocked with toiletries and large fluffy towels.
After a wonderfully relaxing overnight stay, we enjoyed a delicious cooked breakfast in the Brasserie comprising yogurt, cereal, fresh fruit, fruit juice, tea or coffee, toast with house-made preserves and jams, and a full English breakfast. Again, just as in last night’s dinner, we at by the French windows with glorious views over the rolling hills and the vineyards that surrounds the winery.
For more details of how to book and stay at Three Choirs Vineyard, visit their website here: Three Choirs Vineyard. The Wine Tour and Tasting Experience starts at £12:50 and you can also add lunch into the tour, as seen here: TOUR & TASTING EXPERIENCE WITH LIGHT LUNCH FOR 2. There are 8 Vineyard View rooms (situated next to the brasserie close to the shop and winery) and 3 Lodge Rooms (located about 500m away, nestled amongst the vines) which you can book here: Book a Stay Sample menus are available for those of you want to book dinner, and there’s a fabulous choice on offer, as you can see from the sample dinner menu below:
Wye Valley asparagus, Soft boiled May’s farm hen’s egg, crispy falafel £7.50
Smoked wood pigeon, Springfield Farm chicken & Clonakilty black pudding terrine, spiced pear £6.50
Trealy Farm bresola, anti pasti, aged balsamic £7.50
Soy marinated Cornish mackerel fillet, fennel & crab salad, wasabi mayonnaise £8.00
Chef’s home-made soup of the day £6.00
Pan roasted hand dived scallops, Thai fishcakes, Thai dipping sauce. £12.95 (£3 supplement for inclusive residents) £13.50
Local wild boar, chorizo & paprika burger, brioche bun, Bentleys’ farm plum & chilli ketchup, duck fat fries £16.00
Open lasagne of spring vegetables, grilled sun blushed tomato & basil foccacia, parmesan pesto £15.00
Crispy buffalo mozzarella burger, brioche bun, truffle fries, garden beetroot relish £15.00
Grilled Cornish plaice, parsley & garlic butter, smoked seasalt chips, rocket, radish & watercress salad £18.00
Roast sea bream, buttered samphire, crushed Cornish new potatoes, lobster oil £16.50
Sadle of Herefordshire lamb, ewe’s cheese dauphinoise , truffle honey parsnip, red wine jus £19.00
Herefordshire 8oz 28 day aged sirloin steak peas a la francaise, duck fat chips, wild garlic butter, red wine jus £24.00
Herefordshire 6oz 28 day aged fillet steak , peas a la francaise, duck fat chips, wild garlic butter, red wine jus £27.00
Dessert and more
Iced chocolate, lime & muscavado parfait, sea salt caramel popcorn £6.50
Butterscotch creme brulee, caramelised banana, citrus shortbread £6.50
Poached pear & blueberry jelly, dark chocolate meringue £6.50
Warm sticky ginger pudding, Cotswold lemon curd, Herefordshire clotted cream £6.50
Treacle tart, May Hill rhubarb ripple ice cream £6.50
Toblerone dessert cocktail £9.50
A selection of Homemade Petits fours £1.50
Served with homemade chutney, grapes and biscuits. Choose a 4 cheese slate for £8.50 or a 6 cheese slate for £10.50
Ragstone Goats cheese (Neals yard creamery Herefordshire) Unpasteurised, Lemony, smooth.
Stinking Bishop (Charles Martell Dymock) (pasteurised, characteristic flavour, perry washed (V)
Blacksticks Blue (Lancashire) Mild, creamy, (V)
Double Gloucester (Smarts Farm Churcham) Slighty crumbly, mellow, earthy, (V)
Quickes cheddar (Devon) outstanding depth of flavour.
Perl Wen ( Carmarthenshire) Creamy, buttery, lemony, salty.(V)
Oxford Blue, soft, rich, creamy, (V)
Hereford Hop (Charles Martell Dymock) Citrusy, buttery, sharp.
*My B and B, dinner and wine tasting experience was all free. All views and opinions are my own and I was not asked to write a favourable review*