The entire experience at the UK’s wine hotel showcases unique moments in wine. Guests are welcomed by a vast wine vault spread over two floors, home to 30,000 bottles of wine. They are later greeted with an exclusive huge canvas ('After the Upset') of the legendary 1976 Judgement of Paris event. Each of the 49 bedrooms are named after an iconic international wine. There are five sommeliers from around the world at the hotel and all guests interact with a sommelier during a meal to select a wine from the 3,000 on the long wine list. 100 wines are served by the glass.
2019 wine moment 1 – Discover California in Berkshire
There are over 800 bottles of Californian wine at The Vineyard Hotel. A selection come from Sir Peter Michael's world-class winery which was established in 1982, on a square mile of rocky volcanic ridges, that form the western face of Mount St. Helena in Knights Valley, Sonoma County. The wine growing philosophy was modelled on the French tradition with some modern influences. Terroir would always be the single most important feature, the wines would be elegant rather than overstated, and there would be a one hundred-year commitment to the development of a great estate. The result is a product of high quality and limited quantity. You can see that principle at work at The Vineyard too.
2019 wine moment 2 – Discover wines from two small countries in Berkshire
Two small countries getting lots of wine attention are Slovenia and Hungary. Try these wines:
Dveri-Pax, Furmint/ Pinot Gris, Podravje, Slovenia, 2015 £30
This wine is a very exciting blend, Furmint has a round body with a delicate creaminess to it and notes of ripe white fruit when Pinot Gris brings a slight oiliness to the texture as well as subtle fragrance of orange peel and dry apricot.
Atelier Kramar, Bohem, Friulano, Brda, Slovenia, 2015 £64
This winery is run by a husband and wife team. The wine is kept in contact with the skin for 3 days to develop a more complex aromatic panel. This delicious wine is round and full bodied with notes of white flower, fresh nuts and a long finish. It has a slight savoury minerality which gives this wine a great freshness
Tokaji, Barta, Furmint, Öreg Király Dűlő, Tokaj, Hungary, 2015 £65
The Barta family purchased most of the Old King’s Vineyard (Öreg Király Dűlő) in 2003. The site produced historical wines dating back to the 13th century but was left abandoned after World War II as this particular site isn’t suited for mass planting. Furmint is the local varietal and the wine shows similarity to great white Burgundies. It is a full bodied and creamy wine with an exceptional complexity.
Egri Borvidék, Egri Korona Borház, Kékfrankos, Bornemissza, Eger, Hungary, 2011£43
Kékfrankos is also known as Blaüfrankish in Germany and is half related to Gamay. The wine is light with a barrique aging giving it a touch of spiciness and earthiness. It is fruit driven and vibrant with a slight smokiness and some ripe summer fruit notes.
2019 wine moment 3 – Discover the Judgement of Paris story in Berkshire
The Judgement of Paris (or the Paris Wine Tasting of May 24, 1976) is seen as one of the most pivotal moments in wine history. A blind wine tasting of French and Californian wines, nearly forty years ago, that forever changed the future of winemaking when unknown Californian wines were chosen over some of France's finest by some of France’s top wine aficionados. Organised by British wine merchant Steven Spurrier, excellent Californian Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons were tasted alongside white Burgundies and Bordeaux reds. For Californian winemakers—and for winemakers around the world—the event transformed the industry. Those in attendance included journalists Odette Kahn the editor of La Revue du Vin de France and George M. Taber from Time Magazine. A comedy drama film; 'Bottle Shock', was released in 2008 and is based on the Judgement of Paris and stars Alan Rickman.
From then on Sir Peter Michael, owner of The Vineyard, was inspired. Here, in an atmosphere devoted to gastronomy, guests may recreate their very own blind tasting with wines matched to each of seven delicious courses prepared by British chef Robby Jenks. Traditionally a French and Californian glass are served with each course and the diner decides which they prefer. Each Judgement of Paris dinner also includes two blind taste tests to decide where the wine originates from; France or California. At the end of the dinner, guests raise a glass to California or to France. Which country gets your vote?
2019 wine moment 4 – Discover a wine inspired spa treatment in Berkshire
Unwind at the hotel’s spa with a wine themed spa treatment. The Vineyard Spa has been awarded 5 bubbles by the Good Spa Guide and includes an indoor swimming pool. Several signature treatments at The Vineyard Spa celebrate wine including the Red Grape Pampering Body Wrap. To begin body brushing lightly exfoliates skin before The Vineyard Hotel’s exclusive red grape mask is applied, packed with anti-oxidants that have protective anti-ageing benefits and a little seaweed for a mild detoxifying effect. While guests relax in their wrap a tension relieving head massage will help de-stress. After showering an application of the Red Grape Cream will leave the guest’s skin completely nourished. This treatment lasts 55 mins and is priced £70.
2019 wine moment 5 – Discover a wine storyteller in Berkshire
Nina Caplan’s new book ‘The Wandering Vine’ is Louis Roederer Wine Book of the Year 2018. Nina, an award-winning journalist follows the vine into the past, wandering from Champagne's ancient chalk to the mountains of Campania, via the crumbling Roman ruins that flank the river Rhône and the remote slopes of Priorat in Catalonia. Nina will be hosting a ‘Lunch with…’ event at The Vineyard Hotel on 3rd June 2019.
Steven Spurrier’s new book ‘Wine – A Way of Life’ was recently released. Steven bought a wine shop in Paris and also ran a wine school and he famously organised the Judgement of Paris tasting dinner. 'Bottle Shock' the film was released in 2008 and is based on the Judgement of Paris and stars Alan Rickman. Steven’s book is available at The Vineyard Hotel.
Eat. Sleep. And drink wine.
The Vineyard, Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8JU 01635 897589
Accommodation and breakfast are priced from £255 based on two guests.