May Events in Berkshire

Highclere Game and Country Fair

Thursday 1st May – Mark Thomas: 100 acts of Minor Dissent at The Corn Exchange

The performance starts at 7.45pm
Mark Thomas, comedy’s trouble-maker-in-chief, returns to what he does best: joyously bad behaviour with a purpose. Mark Thomas is well versed in the art of creative mayhem and over the years his troublemaking has changed laws, cost companies millions and annoyed those who most deserved to be.

Now with the task of committing 100 Acts of Minor Dissent in the space of a year, Mark catalogues everything from the smallest and silliest gesture to the grandest confrontations and the results are hilarious, mainly legal and occasionally inspiring.

Tickets £15, £13 concessions

For further details see www.cornexchangenew.com


Monday 5th May – Crafty Craft Race at Kennet and Avon Canal

8:30am to 4:30pm
Crafty Craft has been running since 1974 and is a fantastic fun event on the first May Bank Holiday. It is a boat race from Kintbury to Newbury in home-made boats. As well as building and rowing the boats, the teams must lift the boats out of the water and carry them around each lock. The race takes place along a 5 mile stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal from Kintbury to Newbury starting from Kintbury Lock. The finishing line is in Newbury alongside Victoria Park.

Throughout the day Victoria Park is the focal point for the fun, with amusements, rides, food outlets and a wide range of attractions to suit all ages.

For further details see www.craftycraft.com


Wednesday 7th May – Wine School at The Vineyard – Can California Stay on Top?

6.30pm to 8pm

1976 saw the Judgement of Paris blind tasting stun the world by showing just how Californian wines could compare and beat the French. Join us as we compare great examples of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from around the globe in an attempt to see who will come out on top!

£30 per person

Please call us on 01635 589407 to book and discover more online


Saturday 10th May – Newbury Spring Festival

A fortnight of excellent music in Newbury and the surrounding villages. Where International Symphony Orchestras, and jazz legends and world music artists rub shoulders with the stars of tomorrow.

Discover more – www.newburyspringfestival.org.uk


Monday 12th  May – Ladies’ Lunch at The Vineyard – The Judgement of Paris

12pm – 3pm
Re-inact the Judgement of Paris blind tasting in 1976 where Californian wines beat the French hands down. Enjoy a three course lunch with matching blind wines; one Californian and one French, and decide which country gets your vote.
£60 per person
Please call us on 01635 589407 to book and discover more online


Wednesday 14th – Saturday 17th May – Box theatre – The Canterbury Tales at Watermill Theatre

Wednesday to Friday at 7.30pm and Saturday at 6.30pm
Bawdy, anarchic and lots of fun, this modern version of Chaucer’s medieval classic takes the form of a storytelling competition. Set in the present, with each tale as a stand-alone piece, linked by a Master of Ceremonies, the approach is deliberately un-academic and the aim, to entertain, with all the spirit of the original’s sense of chivalry and satire.

There are nine of Chaucer’s favourite tales told here, including those of The Knight, The Wife of Bath and The Miller. And, as a finale, the audience is invited to vote on whose tale wins the competition.

So, The Box ask you to join them for an evening of high (and low) drama and help decide the winner.

Tickets £10 and £7
For further details see www.watermill.org.uk


17th May – JLT Lockinge Stakes Day and Newbury Racecourse

11am to 5pm
The highlight of the Flat season features the Group 1 JLT Lockinge Stakes and the London Gold Cup. Expect the very best Flat racing and some wonderful live entertainment and attractions off-the-track.

Tickets: £20 to £30 for enclosure tickets
For more information or to book tickets please click here or call on 01635 40015


Sunday 18th May – Butterfly and bug walk at Greenham and Crookham common

2pm to 4pm
A wander around Bowdown Woods looking at the spring butterflies and hoverflies. Get to know some of the other insects that abound here at this time of year. Booking is essential.’ A Guide to Finding Butterflies & Day-flying Moths in Berks, Bucks and Oxon’ by Peter Creed and Rachel Hudson will be on sale.

Meet at: Bowdown Woods ‘Bomb Site’ car park, off Bury’s Bank Road, Newbury, Berks.
Tickets – £6
For further details see www.bbowt.org.uk


Secrets beneath the Grass at Shaw House

Open weekends until Sunday November 2014
This exhibition marks an exciting point in the history of the garden at Shaw House.  Areas of the garden are being reunited after many years as part of school grounds and can now be explored by us all for the first time. With 433 years of history there are tales aplenty of glamour, beauty, innovation, ingenuity, hard work, daring and bravery.
Open every weekend until 28th September and then school half terms and Summer holidays.
For further details see www.shawhouse.org.uk


Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th May – New World vs Old World Dinner at The Vineyard

To celebrate the Judgement of Paris blind tasting in 1976 where Californian wines beat French wines, join us for a five course dinner in our restaurant with two blind matched wines per course; one French, one Californian and decide which country gets your vote. We’ve chosen some fantastic wines from each country for your enjoyment so no doubt it’s going to be a tough decision!

£120 per person

Please call us on 01635 589407 to book and discover more online


Sunday 25th May – Bayer 10K Run

Entries are now open here for the 2014 Bayer Newbury 10k race. This will be the 7th year of this chip-timed race and will include two pre-event runs for under 16′s through the town centre. The adults 10k course starts and finishes in the historic Newbury market place, a gentle climb for the first 3km is followed by a short descent and the rest of the course is flat. Approx 7km is on the road and the remainder on footpaths and the tow path.
Fees for the Bayer Newbury 10K race are £12 for members of affiliated athletic/running clubs and £14 for non-members.

For further details see www.bayer.co.uk


Sunday 25th to Monday 26th May – Game and Country Fair at Highclere Castle

8am to 6pm
Set in the glorious grounds of Highclere Castle, the fair draws visitors from across the southern counties and much further afield. The Highclere Game and Country Fair is home to some of the world’s most prestigious field sports competitions and attracts competitors from across the globe. If you’re new to country sports, you will find expert tuition and advice on how to get involved in some of the most enjoyable and rewarding pastimes. With over 200 retailers to choose from, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

Tickets – adults – £13 and children under 15 go free
For further details, please visit – www.countrymanfairs.co.uk

Mid Week Spa Treat

Hot stone massage - 1000 x 667
How was the first quarter of 2014 for you? Stressful? After a hectic start to the year, it’s only as spring begins to bloom that you may begin to notice your own batteries going a little flat. Why not reinvigorate your mind and soul with a mid week spa day or break at The Vineyard?

Ideal for a mid-week treat with your loved one, The Vineyard Spa provides a space to escape the stresses of everyday life, refresh your body and find time to relax. It has also been highly regarded by reviewers, receiving ‘5 Bubbles’ from the Good Spa Guide. Spend the day swimming in The Vineyard’s circular pool, relaxing in the Jacuzzi, or let your pores breathe easy in the sauna. There’s also a fully-equipped gym for those looking for a full cardiovascular workout.

There is a variety of relaxation and beauty treatments on offer, several of which are unique to The Vineyard Spa. The team of highly trained therapists will ensure your spa experience is soothing and satisfying throughout.

Why not treat yourself to a Hot Stone Ritual? A massage, which employs essential oils and hot stones to relieve your aching muscles and joints, and restore a sense of harmony to your body. There’s also the Red Grape Pampering Body Wrap, which combines a body exfoliation, red grape body mask and gentle head massage to relieve tension and leave your skin beautifully soft and smooth to the touch.

Discover more about mid week spa breaks online or call us on 01635 528770.

Roast Lamb with Mediterranean Vegetables & Sauce Vierge

meat-lamb-FrenchBrasserie-DuncanBaird-YukiSugiura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A dish from my cookbook, French Brasserie Cookbook:

It’s funny the things that get us excited. For me it is the seasons – not just the colours and the smellsm but knowing the soon certain produce is going to be available that hasn’t been around for a while. When spring arrives, it is wold garlic first, then peas and, at last, the new season’s spring lamb; milk-fed and unbelievably tender. Simply pan-roasted and served with courgettes, tomatoes and sauce vierge, this dish brings out all the freshness and colour of the Mediterranean. Enjoy it with a light rosé wine, close your eyes and there you are – in Provence.

Ingredients:

2 lamb tenderloins, fully trimmed
4 rosemary sprigs
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe quantity Sauce Vierge (see below)

Mediterranean Vegetables
4-6 tbsp olive oil
2 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
1 eggplant, cut into 1/4″ thick slices

Sauce Vierge
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 tomato, seeded and diced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

Step 1: Heat the oven to 425°F.

Step 2: Season the lamb with salt and pepper, pierce each tenderloin on both sides with a sharp knife and insert a rosemary sprig into each opening.

Step 3: Heat a skillet with an ovenproof handle over medium heat and add the oil and garlic. Add the lamb and cook about 5 minutes, turning continuously, until sealed and golden brown all over. Transfer the skillet to the oven for 5-8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven, set aside and keep the lamb warm.

Step 4: Meanwhile, cook the vegetables. Heat another skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the vegetables in batches so they are in a single layer, season with salt and pepper and fry 3-4 minutes on each side until just tender and golden.

Step 5: Starting with the tomatoes, arrange 3 slices of tomato and 2 slices of zucchini and eggplant, alternately and just overlapping, in the middle of each of four plates.

Step 6: Carve the lamb into thick slices on the diagonal and arrange on top of the vegetables. Spoon the Sauce Vierge (see below) over the lamb and around the plates and serve.

Sauce Vierge

Step 1: Put the oil in a small saucepan and briefly warm it over low heat about 30 seconds. Add the shallot and cook 2 minutes.

Step 2: Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tomato, lime juice and balsamic vinegar. Just before serving, add the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy warm drizzled over roast lamb.

Happy Cooking!

Daniel Galmiche

 

Chocolate and Wine – A Delicate Pairing

WineChoc_emailWe thought you might like to discover more about some of the wines that were tasted at our wine and chocolate hedonism masterclass on Wednesday evening. Wine and chocolate can be a tricky pairing so it’s worth remembering to avoid Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and other high acid or drying whites. And for red wines, again avoid acidic grapes or cooler regions like Pinot Noir and Gamay or drying reds with bitter or dry tannins, like Nebbiolo and Sangiovese.

Why not join our Chocolate and Wine Matching Dinner on Friday 25th April and discover even more about this delicate pairing?

Schramsberg Blanc de Noir, Calistoga, California 2008

Schramsberg’s best selling wine is almost 100% Pinot Noir and consistently out classes Champagne in blind tastings around the world. Full bodied with rich toasty brioche notes and firm acidity. Our favourite fizz at the moment who’s quality has been consistent since its first vintage in 1965. It has lively aromas of apricot and persimmon, which gracefully lead to nuances of honey and lemon. The fruitful nose is complemented by vanilla spice and candied almond. The palate offers crisp and tart flavors of orange and lime rind, supported by a touch of roasted coffee. The finish is long and lingering

£25.26 per bottle – buy online


Juan Gil Monastrell 4, Jumilla, Spain 2012

A hugely intense nose with fresh juicy blackberry and plum fruit, delicate vanilla spice and cedar. The palate mirrors the nose with layers of lush spicy plum and cherry fruit, more sweet spice, minerality and gentle tannins to the finish.

£8.05 per bottle – buy online


Ferrari-Carano Black Muscat Eldorado Noir, Sonoma, California 2010

Luscious, mouth watering black Muscat with just enough acidity to keep each mouthful crisp and refreshing. Black Muscat is a very popular style in California and we are delighted to represent this one.

£22 per half bottle  – buy online


Holden Manz Good sPort, Franschoek, South Africa 2009

Smooth, soft entry with rich vanilla, coconut and raisin fruit exudes on the palate. This wine is rich and warm and has a long finish. With time, the balance between spirit and wine will harmonise creating a wonderfully complex offering.

£27.50 per bottle – buy online

 

What’s on in April in Berkshire

Chocolate - 580 x 288

Wednesday 2nd April – Wine School at The Vineyard – Chocolate and Wine Hedonism – 6.30pm to 8pm
With chocolate being one of the hardest foods to match with wine, we’ll be looking and tasting a range of wines that pair up exceedingly well, including Port, fortified dessert wines and rich red wines. Chocolate and wine will never be a difficult pairing again! £30 per person
Discover more about our wine schools
Please call us on 01635 589407 to book


Friday 4th to Monday 21st April – Easter on the farm at Bucklebury Park Farm
Come and feed the lambs and go on an Easter egg hunt! Enjoy a delicious meal from Woody’s the new cafe and tea rooms. Set in a stunning 74-acre site they have a host of attractions including: deer park, farm animals, indoor play, pedal go-cart track, tractor rides (included in your admission price), refreshments, adventure playground, a wild walk, Be a farmer club and den building.

Bucklebury Farm Park offers a magical experience and a great value day out whatever the weather, that will appeal to the whole family, school groups, senior citizens’ clubs, or just a couple of friends. Opening times 10am to 6pm (last admission 5:00pm)

A family ticket is priced at £30, adults – £8.95 and children – £7.95.
For further details see www.buckleburyfarmpark.co.uk


Friday 4th April Southern Sinfonia Café concert at The Corn Exchange
1pm onwards
A hot new quartet, The Consone Quartet, winners of the coveted Century Fund Prize, bring the classical sound world through period instruments. Programme to include Purcell, Haydn and Schubert. Tickets from £7.

Discover more at www.southernsinfonia.co.uk and www.southernsinfonia.co.uk


Monday 7th April – Ladies’ Lunch – The Healthier Way to Enjoy Chocolate
12pm – 3pm
Join Anneliese Setchell, nutritionist and owner of www.tonichealthboutique.com, who will give you a fascinating insight into the many health benefits of chocolate as well as delicious examples of how to incorporate it into your diet. Did you know that chocolate has more antioxidants than most other plant foods? It can help with weight management and anti-ageing as well as having anti-inflammatory properties.

Three course lunch with matching wines – £60 per person
Discover more about our ladies’ lunches
Please call us on 01635 589407 to book


Saturday 5th to Tuesday 22nd April – Easter Trail at Beale Park
10am to 4pm
Take part in an Easter Trail & Dig for an Eggstra Special Chocolate Treat! There will be an eggstra special Easter trail at the Park in the Easter half term. All you have to do it complete the trail, hand it into the Park’s restaurant and you will get the chance to dig for a chocolate egg! 50p admission
Discover more at www.bealepark.co.uk


Friday 11th and Saturday 12th April – Dubai Duty Free Weekend – The Racecourse Newbury 
The Flat season gets into full swing with a weekend of quality racing starting on 11th April. Be here to welcome its return in style with a table in The Hennessy restaurant and toast the start of a fantastic summer of racing ahead. The 12th April racing day is crowned by the Group 3 Aon Greenham Stakes, as well as a host of entertainment for all the family. The day is also devoted to new racegoers through ‘Inside Track’, an array of features and demonstrations aiming to introduce racing to curious, inexperienced racegoers.
Tickets from £14.40 per day – buy online


Friday 11th to 13th April – All about Gardening Show at Newbury Showground
9.30am to 5pm
The All about Gardening show, organised by Aztec Events will also be treating visitors to its pawsitively spectacular All About Dogs Show. So whether you’re a serious green-fingered enthusiast or just looking for a ‘grrrreat’ way to entertain the entire family, the Newbury showground will have it all.

Popular TV presenter and prolific author Pippa Greenwood will be giving grow-your-own advice on Saturday April 12th and on Sunday April 13th. Celebrity Ground Force gardener Charlie Dimmock will be offering a huge crop of advice on choosing and installing water features.

Aztec events have a 2 for 1 offer on at the moment until 8th April 2014. Simply visit www.aztecevents.co.uk tickets and quote the promotional code NEW14, which will gain you entry to both shows. But don’t delay! Availability is limited. Parking is free and dogs are allowed on leads.
Discover more –  www.visitnewbury.org.uk


Saturday 12th April – History Walk at Greenham and Crookham common
10am to 12.30pm
A gentle walk led by local enthusiast Lloyd Garvey. Walk through time as you discover the vast history of Greenham Common and the surrounding area. Discover how our history has shaped the landscape; from Roman remains and Civil War battles, all the way to World War 2 and the Cold War. Finally, learn about the restoration of the common and why it looks the way it does today.

Dogs on leads welcome. Meet at Greenham Common Control Tower car park, off Bury’s Bank Road, Greenham Common, nr Newbury, Berks. Free entry.
Discover more – www.bbowt.org.uk


Friday 25th April – A Delicate Pairing – Chocolate and Wine Matching Dinner
7pm arrival for 7.30pm
For many years now, chocolate and wine have been enjoyed together, but it can be tricky to get the pairing just right. Join us for this truly indulgent dinner and discover more about the wines that can be matched with both sweet and savoury dishes, and why they go together so well.
Four courses with matching wines and chocktail aperitif – £95 per person
Please call us on 01635 589407 to book
Discover more about our wine dinners


Tuesday 29th April – Tutti Day at Hungerford Town Hall
8am to 10am
Hungerford residents are the only people in Britain still to don their costumes as part of the Hocktide celebrations. Tutti-Day (the second Tuesday after Easter), marks the end of the financial and administrative year.

The Bellman (who is also Town Crier) summons the Commoners to the Court, while the two Tutti-men work their way around the town, visiting every house with common rights, numbering nearly 100 in total. In the past they would have collected the ‘head penny’ from each householder, but nowadays the most they collect is a kiss from the ladies of the house, and a little hospitality to help them on their way.
Discover more - www.hungerford.uk.net

New Mavalia make-up range at The Vineyard Spa

mavala style collection

Throughout the world, the name Mavala is synonymous with quality, thanks to the high end performing products. They have just launched a new makeup and beauty range: Mavalia, with many different shades and products to suit everyone. Because of its smoothing, emollient, astringent and refreshing properties, Mavalia uses extracts of the Mallow plant, found in the Swiss Alps, in many of its products.

Make-up prices start from £5.95, and in March with every purchase of Mavalia make up, we’ll treat you to a complimentary khol eyeliner of your choice.

Why not pop into The Vineyard and try out the new Mavalia make-up range, or book in for a make-up lesson, with one of our experienced therapists?
Discover more

To book a lesson, contact us on 01635 589415 or email us:
spa@the-vineyard.co.uk

Helpful make-up tips

If you’re looking to update your make up look, here are two easy ways:

Crayon Khol PencilCrayon Khol PencilKhol pencilsCrayon Khol Pencil 1Apply make up shades and tones that you are comfortable using then add a little ‘oomph’ to your eyes with a new shade of eyeliner, such as blue or green, close to the lower lash line for an updated look.

If the idea of bright lipsticks scares you, (even though you think they will look great), try   applying your everyday choice of colour then layer a red or hot pink on top. You’ll love the result it gives you, and it’s very easy to do at home on yourself.

Nikki Thompson
Assistant Spa Manager

Discover more about Californian Wineries

Vin-de-Cal is the international sales representative for select small family-owned wineries in California; Schramsberg, Ferrari-Carano, Benovia and Talley. Taste wines from all these wineries on Saturday 15th March at The Vineyard from 11am to 5pm and attend masterclasses throughout the day for just £40 for two tickets. Discover more

Schram - old imageSchramsberg was originally founded in 1862 by Joseph Schram, who made still wine. When he died the winery lay dormant until Jack and Jamie Davies bought it in 1965. The Davies’ plan was to make sparkling wine the same way that Champagne is made as no one in the U.S. was doing this. In 1972 President Nixon chose their Blanc de Blancs to toast Premier Zhou Enlai when the U.S. re-opened relations with China.

Schram - bottle displaySince that day Schramsberg has been poured by every President at the White House. The wines are frequently mistaken for Champagne in blind tastings. The wines are all vintage dated. The J Schram is Schramsberg’s signature wine and is the perfect balance of acidity and richness. The Blanc de Blancs is the most popular wine and works well as an aperitif and as an accompaniment to food. The winery is now in the hands of the Davies’ youngest son, Hugh.

bottle display - FCFerrari-Carano was founded by Don and Rhonda Carano in 1981. Both Caranos are of Italian descent and the rolling hills of Alexander Valley reminded them of Italy. They chose to add Don’s grandmother’s name, Ferrari, to the name of their winery as a tribute to her. Ferrari-Carano began by making Chardonnay and Fume Blanc. They established a highly acclaimed reputation for these wines. They added their red wines a few years later and are now known for both red and white wines.

FC - coupleThe Fume Blanc continues to be one of their best loved wines. A well rounded, flavourful wine that is highly regarded by consumers and restaurants, and often served as a wine-by-the glass. On the red side, the Merlot is a favorite having rich berry fruit with firm structure, able to have as a glass,but perfect with duck or beef.

Benovia owners - hi resBenovia is a small winery owned by the couple, Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane, and the winemaker, Mike Sullivan. They founded the winery in 2007 when they bought the land in Russian River. They now also own a vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. Mike Sullivan built a reputation for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay before joining Jo and Mary in this venture.

Benovia offers Russian River Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as several vineyard select Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. The wines are consistently regarded highly by well-respected critics year after year Although the winery is small its reputation is growing for the balance of fruit and texture the wines provide. The Russian River Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are bright, full-flavoured wines on their own, but a great accompaniment to meals. The individual vineyard select wines are distinct in each case, reflecting the terroir where they are grown. Enjoy a vineyard designated Pinot Noir with fowl or heartier fish and the combination proves that the marriage of wine and food makes both better.

Talley coupleTalley began in 1948 when Oliver Talley founded Talley Farms and started growing specialty vegetables in the Arroyo Grande Valley. During the 1970s extensive planting of wine grapes began in the neighbouring Edna Valley and Santa Barbara County areas. After observation and extensive analysis, Oliver’s son, Don Talley, was convinced of the potential to grow high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on the steep hillsides above Talley Farms. Don planted a small test plot in 1982. Over time the varietal and clonal selections were refined and planting expanded to a total of 165 acres in the Arroyo Grande and Edna Valleys.

Talley Vineyards produced its first wine in 1986 with the production of 450 cases. Today the third generation, Brian and Johnine Talley, own and operate Talley Vineyards. Producing only Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays fromtheir vineyards, the Talleys have put Arroyo Grande on the wine map. Their goal is to produce distinctive wines of consistently high quality that best express the unique character of each of the Talley family’s six vineyard sites in the two valleys.

Talley’s wines are highly regarded for their character and balance. The vineyard specific Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are frequently singled out by wine writers for their reflection of the vineyard where they were grown. The wines are full-bodied, rich in fruit and exceptional in their pairing with food.

March Events in Berkshire

Friday 14th March 2014 – An Audience with Nicholas Parsons at Watermill Theatre – 2pm

Join the famous Radio 4 presenter for an afternoon of entertainment. Funny, enjoyable and a real treat, this is not to be missed. Nicholas Parsons takes his audience on a humorous and nostalgic journey through the memorabilia of his long and eventful life. Seeing the funny side of every situation, he highlights with superb and often hilarious observation those events that have shaped his career. His comic timing and accurate observation creates a cast of characters that make this a wonderful afternoon of comedy, which has his audience entertained and laughing throughout. Join Nicholas afterwards in the bar for tea and cake.

Ticket prices £30 per person

For further details please visit www.watermill.org.uk

Friday 14th March – Peter Michael Winery Dinner at The Vineyard– 7pm

Join The Vineyard, the Michael family and Hugh Johnson, wine writer and expert, for the Peter Michael Winery Dinner where you will have the rare opportunity to try the latest and back vintages of Peter Michael wines perfectly matched with a five course dinner. View menu and discover more

Wine dinner – £120 per person or a table of 10 is £960
Saturday tasting ticket – £30 per person

Please call us on 01635 589453 to book

Saturday 15th March – Californian Wine Tasting at The Vineyard – 11am to 5pm

On Saturday 15th March, we are hosting a wine tasting of over 50 Californian wines. Come and meet the winemakers, join us for wine masterclasses throughout the day and discover more about Californian wine.

Please call us on 01635 589453 to book

Saturday 15th March – Meet the Wineries Dinner at The Vineyard – 7pm

Enjoy a five course discovery dinner where five of California’s well known wineries will host the evening along with James Hocking, Vineyard Cellars’ Director of Wine, showcase their favourite wines and give you an insight into why their wineries keep ahead of the vinous world. View menu and discover more
£95 per person

Please call us on 01635 589453 to book

Wednesday 19th March – HG2 Homegrown at The Corn Exchange – 7.45pm

Children, young people and professional dancers come together in an evening of dance that spans the breadth of talent in Newbury and surrounding areas. It has been three years since the first production of HOMEGROWN in 2011 celebrating the wealth of dance talent from here in West Berkshire. Since then we have continued to have a thriving community for dance and more young dancers have trained, graduated and are now professional dancers in their own right and so it is time for HG2 to celebrate these achievements and see the dancers of today, tomorrow and the years to come.

Tickets £10 (concessions £7)

For more information please visit www.cornexchangenew.com

Saturday 29th March – Elke Brooks at The Corn Exchange, Newbury – 7.45pm

Performing some of her classic hits, blues and jazz, an electric evening with Elkie Brooks is guaranteed to leave you begging for more. Quite simply one of the most successful and popular singers the UK has ever produced and still proving to be one of the most powerful and versatile vocal talents of our generation. With numerous hit singles, million selling albums and awards, her annual tours are a treat for fans old and new.
Tickets prices £25 per person

For more information please visit www.cornexchangenew.com

Sunday 30th March – Mother’s Day at The Vineyard

Sunday Lunch – 12pm to 2pm
Treat your Mum on her special day and enjoy a three course lunch with a glass of Champagne. All Mums will receive an exclusive Red Grape spa gift to enjoy at home.
£50 per person

Afternoon Tea – 3pm to 5.30pm
Enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea with carefully created cakes, warm scones and finger sandwiches with your choice of tea or coffee. View sample menu
£22.50 per person

Please call us on 01635 528770 to book

How the Wine World has Changed

Over the last few months I have been working alongside James Hocking of The Vineyard Cellars on the new Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses that we are able to offer. It was while studying and preparing for this, when it struck me how much has changed in the 15 years or so since I originally started in the wine industry.

When the old world was dominant
Back then France was still the dominant country, with Spain and Italy close behind. Germany was having real problems shaking their cheap, sweet wine image and Austria was still suffering from the disastrous effects of the anti freeze scandal. Meanwhile in the New World, Australia was just seeing its gutsy Shiraz and Oaked Chardonnays gather momentum, New Zealand was on the rising tide of Cloudy Bay and its gooseberry laden Sauvignon Blancs, South Africa was stuck with Apartheid, California was overpriced and difficult to source, while South America couldn’t quite work out what it was producing!

We now have so much choice
Now though, the wine industry, and particularly the choice available in the UK, is booming! The choice from Europe has grown massively with new wines from old areas, but also increased competition arriving from the east, with Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Bulgarian wines improving immensely. Particularly at The Vineyard we have seen a dramatic increase in Austrian wines with Gruner Veltliner and Blaufrankisch being of great excitement. Germany has seen a massive increase as their style of wines has become more commonly bone dry in style, with the sharp zesty citrus fruit appeal that works beautifully with Oriental influenced sashimi style seafood.
As for the New World… well we certainly weren’t seeing as many wines from China, Japan and India on our wine lists as we do now! New Zealand has moved on, to produce top quality Central Otago Pinot Noirs and Gimblett Gravel Cab blends. South Africa now offers some of the best value and most interesting wines around, especially from the burgeoning Swartland District, then we come to California…

How California has changed
It is quite easily apparent the huge steps that have been taken to not only improve quality but also value for money. Cooler areas like Sonoma coast, Monterey and the hillsides above and around Napa instead of the valley floor are providing some excellent examples of varietal wine making. Meanwhile a touch of delicate acidity from this mountain fruit has added balance to many of the hottest Cabernet blends around.

Of course, the best way to notice these changes and improvements is to taste it yourself, so why not join us for our Californian Wine Weekend on 14th and 15th March. There’s something for everyone. So whether you’re wanting to try as many wonderful Californian wines as you can, or are looking for a really special evening where you’ll have the rare opportunity to try some of the Peter Michael Winery best and highly sought after wines, you won’t be disappointed. Discover more – www.the-vineyard.co.uk/CalifornianWineWeekend.asp

What I’m really looking forward to is the Les Pavots vertical tasting at 4.30pm on 15th March where you’ll get the chance to try some of the more recent vintages. Be sure to sign up soon as I know this will be the most popular of them all.

Cheers

Alan

Best of Britsh – February 2014

pinkster gin

This month we introduce:  Pinkster Gin

Pinkster gin is said to be ‘agreeably British gin’ and is a mix of 5 carefully selected botanicals at the Thames distillery in London. Stephen Marsh, the gins founder then takes the gin and infuses the spirit with fresh raspberries which gives this gin its distinctive pink colour and fresh taste.

Stephen stumbled upon this recipe and his love for gin after finding out he had developed an allergy to yeast which meant he could no longer enjoy his vast wine cellar so he turned from grape to grain and fell in love with gin.

We love our gin here at The Vineyard just as much as Stephen and Pinkster fits perfectly into our selection. The raspberries give it a slight sweetness, but the heavy juniper notes of the original spirit help to retain a dry and distinctive gin character that works well in both cocktails and mixed with tonic.

We have twisted two very classic cocktails with this gin; The Cosmopolitan and The Martini, and our team have also created a ‘Perfect Serve’ gin & tonic that you can find on page 10 of our Bar List.

Pinkster is the perfect gin to enjoy in the springtime with and we hope you enjoy it as much as us.

Pink Cosmo
Pinkster gin shaken with lime, Cointreau and cranberry juice

Rhubarb Martini
Pinkster gin stirred with Chase rhubarb liqueur

Perfect Serve
Pinkster gin with Fever-tree Mediterranean, juniper berries and a twist of lemon

Cheers

David Coveney
Head Barman