The Great Outdoors


Wine columnist Clare Morris has over 10 years’ experience in the drinks industry consulting with, hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars across the UK. She is currently studying for a Diploma at the WSET London Wine and Spirit School.


I am going to stay with the theme of the great outdoors this month. It seems every year we get a heatwave earlier and earlier and I was delighted to celebrate my birthday on March 11th for the first time ever sat in my garden in a deckchair. Heaven!

No excuses for sitting at home watching the television then. This month let’s concentrate on finding a venue with the best outdoor space going. Now there’s a challenge. I do think we’re rather lucky being in the south west of the country for this purpose with the beautiful countryside and coastline available to us.

I would be here all day if I tried to list all the places I love to visit in the sunshine so I’ve just picked two venues with some very impressive views – and most importantly of course, a great glass of wine on offer to pass the time.


Cowley Manor in Cheltenham

All I really want to say about Cowley Manor is ‘amazing grounds’ because that’s exactly the reason I’m talking about them today. The Cotswolds is naturally a region where you find beautiful rural venues, but I challenge you to find anywhere that surpasses this one. With 55 acres, it’s the perfect location to pop open a bottle of fizz, and what better option than a delicious, and uber-trendy Prosecco. Rocco Prosecco Brut is a beautifully creamy fizz with delicate citrus and a refreshing, dry finish. With all the sunshine we’ve been afforded in the last few weeks, there’s never been a better Spring for enjoying Prosecco.

www.cowleymanor.com


Reading Lake Hotel

I’ve chosen this venue again due to its location, unsurprisingly on the water’s edge of a 33-acre lake. It works. A glass of Riverstone Ridge Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough is pretty good most days, but with this backdrop it really brings a smile to your face. Herbaceous and gooseberry aromas – so classic to the Marlborough region – define this excellent wine. Don’t sit inside, don’t choose the house wine, don’t stay at home. If this sunshine is going to spoil us any longer, we should all be sitting on a waterfront lapping it up and this is as good as it gets! Cheers folks.

www.readinglakehotel.com

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