Monday, 2 September 2013

Review - Three Choirs Vineyard by Katy

Today we have another guest post for you, this time from the lovely Katy who was inspired by Roz's winery tour post and kindly sent us this review of her own experience at a Vineyard in Gloucestershire.

Review of Three Choirs Vineyard, Gloucestershire

Hello Olive Dragonfly-ers!  Great to be over here on this epic blog  :)

I am writing a review for you because I recently went to the Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucestershire for my lovely soon-to-be-husband’s birthday, and the whole idea was inspired by Roz and her wine related enthusiasm!

So, Three Choirs is the second largest vineyard in this country, it has 75 acres of vineyards producing around a quarter of a million bottles of wine a year, depending on the weather! As well as producing wine they have rooms (11 double or twin rooms) and an AA 4 star rosette restaurant. I knew we would want to *ahem* thoroughly taste all of the wines, and so we booked into a standard double room and the restaurant.

Visiting the vineyard and wandering around is free, and if you want to do a tour with a tasting then it is only £9 a person. We did the tour, which was really interesting and talked us through how they do wine making here! Neither of us had realised how much of a manual and labour-intensive process the wine making is – especially of their sparkling wine,  which accounts for 25% of their total wine production!

During the tour we tried four of their wines:

1. Classic CuvĂ©e (£13.63) – this is their standard sparkling wine. We both really liked it and bought a couple of bottles! It is reminiscent of a Champagne rather than a Prosecco or Cava, I’d say, and quite dry.

2. Bacchus (£17.11) – one of their single grape variety wines rather than a mix. This was my favourite, a dry but fruity and very tasty white wine, worth the extra money!

3. May Hill (£8.81) – this is a blend, and apparently their most popular wine. It is a sweet white and definitely not my taste…

4. Ravens Hill (£10.37) – this is a blended light red, containing some Pinot Noir and other grapes. I liked it, I generally prefer deeper reds but I would enjoy this on its own on a sunny evening. Dan was not a fan at all!

We also tried four other wines in their shop, as they always have different wines that you can help yourself to as a taster! We loved their drier wines, and their blended English House Dry (£8.11) was very nice. I had a glass of their Siegerrebe (£15.11) before dinner and that was also really lovely! We were really very pleasantly surprised by English wine, as neither of us had tried them before.

With dinner we had a red wine that wasn’t by them, but their selection of guest wines was incredible! They admit they cannot do the variety of reds to go with the things on their food menu, like steak and venison. We also tried the Three Choirs Brandy (delicious) and Dan tried two of their ales (he was impressed by both). So that is the drinks sorted – delicious!

If, like us, you intend to appreciate the full variety of drinks they make here I suggest staying the night. If you are staying on a Friday or Saturday you have to stay for two nights, which is a bit annoying, so we chose to go on a Sunday. This turned out to be a good thing as we did a tour with 17 other people whereas on the Saturday there were apparently 80 people on the tour!

Our room was just lovely. Bearing in mind that Dan is still a student and I’m unemployed we don’t often stay in really nice places! So this was a real luxury for us. The bed was super comfy and massive, with deliciously smooth sheets. The bathroom was perfectly nice, I enjoyed a bath and the shower was really powerful. The room came with tea, ground coffee and a cafetiere (always a necessity for us!), wine glasses, coolers and a corkscrew (it’d be rude not to, right?) and homemade biscuits. However, the real crowning glory was our private patio overlooking the vineyard, it was just a lovely relaxed setting to enjoy a book, cup of coffee or glass of wine! The only downside I think we found is that when you turned on the hot water it made a bit of a racket… definitely something we can live with.

Luckily the standard rooms were a 2 minute walk to the restaurant, if you stayed in a more expensive and fancy lodge room it was maybe a ten minute walk? So, given that it chucked it down that evening, we made the right choice! The food at dinner was excellent, really tasty food well done, nothing too out there but different enough to be interesting.  Dan had scallops, followed by duck and I had beef bresaola followed by pork with black pudding. Unfortunately that’s as much detail as I can remember, but all of our dishes were delicious. We then shared a dessert of hazelnut meringue with a cocoa mousse and chocolate sauce (yes, my pudding memory is much better than my savoury one)!

Breakfast was also delicious, with a choice of a Full English, Eggs Benedict, Smoked Salmon and other classics cooked to order. A couple of little niggles here, like the fact the coffee was really quite weak and you had to do your own toast, and time it to when your breakfast came out! Overall though very tasty, I do love a good cooked breakfast!

All in all we had a very, very nice stay. We left very happy and chilled having spent some really nice quiet time together, a bit of a rarity at the moment with our wedding only 3 weeks away! I would definitely give a shout out to all of the staff we came into contact with, they were friendly, helpful and couldn’t do enough for you! It was an expensive night away, be prepared to spend £120 for bed and breakfast and a good £100 at dinner, and that’s before you treat yourself to a few bottles of their wine… I do think as a special occasion destination, though, it is really special and definitely worth it!

Katy xx


Amanda M said...

I'm a passionate supporter of English wine and it really riles me to hear people being rude and dismissive of it. I agree with you that the reds are not quite there - or at least, I haven't found any - but our whites, especially the Bacchus grape are wonderful. Really like the essence of an English late Spring - all green and flowery and exuberant. Anyone who likes New World Sauvignon Blanc should definitely give them a go.

And our fizz! It came as no surpise to me that it's done so well in blind tastings against champagne. Other brands to try are Nyetimber (Sussex) and Camel Valley (Cornwall).

Thanks for this Katie - I'm definitely tempted with a trip there and enjoyed reading about it.

Unknown said...

Katy I so happy that you guys went here and discovered English wine thanks to my general wine enthusiasm! It makes me smile :)

I knew very little about English wine until we went to Wickham in Southamption - I recommend their tour and wine - I particularly enjoyed their Fume Dry 2009 white mainly from Bacchus and Reichensteiner and their Row Ash Dry white is a light dry white wine made from Seyval and best served ice cold in the sun!!!

I often wonder why I don't drink wine for a living or something ;)

Roz xx

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