It would probably never have occurred to me that Three Choirs Vineyard ran a restaurant alongside their award winning vineyards. However once I found out, I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to pair delicious food with carefully selected wines.
Sarah and I had visited the vineyard before and knew it was a stunning location, situated in Newent. We booked for dinner on a Friday evening and were yet again impressed with the avenues of vines that covered the grounds. Upon arrival, we were shown to a lovely table overlooking the vineyard. Luckily, it was a dry, clear evening rather than the wet that we have been having lately and so the views were spectacular. The interior is very classy and pretty similar to that of an exclusive hotel restaurant or country club. That said, they most certainly wouldn’t have rolling hills and acres of vineyard to look at through the windows. There is also a terrace outside that I imagine would be pretty special on a warm summer’s evening.
For somewhere that takes such care in producing their wine, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Three Choirs Vineyard focuses on local and seasonal food. That said, I have applied similar logic before to other venues and been hugely disappointed. No such issue here as Three Choirs’ menu comprises a decent selection of locally sourced, seasonal produce. Every menu item has a suggested wine to accompany it from their extensive range, although there are also a few quality wines from other regions; particularly with deep red wines, where Three Choirs’ location doesn’t suit the grapes required. This approach gets the thumbs up from me; they’d rather you had the best pairing instead of pushing their own produce for the sake of it.
Whilst we were reading the menu, we were brought two little amuse bouches of chicken liver parfait with caramelised onion marmalade, and some homemade bread. Small touches, but very much appreciated and they set our mouths watering for the rest of the evening.
My pigeon, chicken and black pudding terrine starter was gamey and smokey, with a slightly tart poached pear cutting through and crisp, toasted sourdough to add some texture. A perfect flavour combination. Sarah took advantage of our location and the season to enjoy some Wye Valley asparagus. We both love asparagus and eat a vast amount of in season so our standards are pretty high; Three Choirs serve it with a soft boiled egg, a creamy hollandaise and, unusually, fried falafel. This inventive twist passed the test; the asparagus and falafel combination was perfection, although my preference would have been for softer egg so that it oozed over the asparagus. This was paired with the Bacchus; probably Sarah’s favourite wine of the evening.
The Main Course
On to mains, and I chose a tender ras El hanout venison served with harissa fondant potato, purple sprouting and venison shoulder en croute, brought together with a dark, rich jus. Three Choirs suggest pairing it with their Bacchus – instinctively I would have gone for something red and intensely fruity but actually it was a pleasantly good choice.
Sarah’s spring vegetable open lasagne came with a soft sundried tomato focaccia; perfect for a warm evening. Surprisingly, there were no tomatoes within the lasagne, but it was a tasty, light and interesting variation on the typically heavy, ragu based lasagne. This was paired with their Siegerrebe, a wonderful combination that really brought the flavours of the dish to the fore. A quick note here to say that, for us at least, the portions were very generous, so you certainly won’t ever find yourselves going hungry.
We took a quick breather and then dived back into the menu for desserts – the sacrifices we make for reviewing… I would have been happy with anything as I have a very sweet tooth and they all sounded delicious; but we settled on a treacle tart with rhubarb ice cream and a lime, muscovado and chocolate parfait with salted caramel popcorn. We couldn’t quite finish them but they were very good and looked so pretty on the plate. As I was driving, Sarah generously shared her Late Harvest dessert wine with me which was a perfect accompaniment; rich, sweet and treacly.
We’ll definitely be back; it was a great meal with very friendly service in a beautiful setting. Next time, we might even stay over as they also have on site accommodation. Then I can fully enjoy the wine selection and what I imagine is probably a pretty tasty breakfast too.
Where can I find out more about Three Choirs Vineyard?
Three Choirs Vineyard offers vineyard tours, a restaurant, on site accommodation and a shop to take home their delicious wine. If you visit their website, you can find out more and make a booking. You won’t regret it!