The Gastronome Restaurant Reviews - The Vineyard Hotel, Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire

The Review:

Award: 3 AA Rosettes

Visit: 30 December 2019 – 2 January 2020.

Price: **

Website: http://www.the-vineyard.co.uk/

We visit the Vineyard on a regular basis, and always for New Year.  This was Executive Chef Tom Scade’s first New Year’s celebration party since he joined the Vineyard from the Ritz hotel in London where he was sous chef to John Williams MBE.  Tom’s food is classical, maybe “minimalistic”, light but packed with flavour.  It’s very different to the type of food served by his predecessors at the Vineyard.

Please refer to my previous reviews:

The first evening we chose from the a la carte menu with an excellent wine pairing devised by Head Sommelier Romain Bourger.  Romain was awarded UK Sommelier of the Year 2019.  Tom’s food was superb.  Each course was well cooked and beautifully presented.  The main course halibut was exceptional – cooked perfectly and served with juicy mussels, leaks and cauliflower.  The service in the bar and restaurant are still of a very high standard.

Stuart Clarke Restaurant ReviewMy only minor reservation is with the bread and butter selection.  It’s been very basic for the past few years and needs to be improved.

The second evening was the New Year’s Eve celebration.  Again, the food and wines were excellent.  My favourite course was the venison Wellington that was accompanied by the stunning Peter Michael Winery, Les Pavots, Bordeaux blend, 2012.  There were at least 100 guests at the party, and we were extremely impressed by the super-high-quality food, wines and service.

The final evening, on New Year’s Day, we revisited the main restaurant and chose from the a la carte menu again.  Instead of a wine pairing, I chose a very unusual biodynamic Californian Chenin Blanc that worked very well with the courses we had selected.  The superb Lo-Fi, Chenin Blanc (Jurassic Park Vineyards), 2014 from Santa Ynez Valley, smelled of old socks but had a wonderful taste of lemon, apple and crushed almonds.  The standout dish was the Cornish Cod main course which was cooked perfectly.

Once again, our New Year’s visit to the Vineyard was a great success.  The food and wine were as exceptional as ever.  I have high hopes for Michelin honours in the next announcements in late 2020.  I highly recommend a visit!

The Menus:

The Food:

 

The Wine:

To celebrate New Year, I chose a Dom Perignon Champagne Vintage 2008.

ON THE NOSE

The opening bouquet is complex and luminous, a mingling of white flowers, citrus and stone fruit.  The overall effect is enhanced by the freshness of aniseed and crushed mint.  The final aromas offered by the wine are starting to show spicy, woody and roasted notes.

ON THE PALATE

After a long period of reluctance, the wine is finally opening up.  There is complete balance between the nose and the palate.  Its slender, minimalist, pure, toned, athletic character is now also expressed with warmth.  The fruit is pronounced and clear. The vintage’s characteristic acidity is remarkably well integrated.  Its persistence is mainly aromatic, grey, smoky and highly promising.” (https://www.domperignon.com/uk-en/champagne/vintage/dom-perignon-vintage/2008)

 

To accompany the meal on New Year’s Day, I chose a Californian Chenin Blanc, the Lo-Fi, Chenin Blanc (Jurassic Park Vineyards), 2014 from Santa Ynez Valley, USA.  This organic / biodynamic wine scores a surprisingly low 3.7 / 5.0 on Vivino.  The sommelier suggested the wine was decanted to open it up.  On the nose, it smelled like bad socks worn too long is very old trainers.  However, when you got passed this, the wine was superb, with lemon, apple and crushed almond tastes.  The white wine is bone dry with a lingering scent of white flower petals and a hint of peach.  It’s superb!!

 

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