The Wine School of Cheshire will host a showcase event for English Wine Week 2017 at
Restaurant 1539, Chester Racecourse on Saturday 3rd June.

“English Wine Week is a national campaign, designed to raise awareness of English wine
across the country. There are a wide range of activities which take place across the
country to celebrate English Wine Week, involving both retail and leisure outlets, and at
the vineyards themselves.

English Wine Week starts over Spring Bank Holiday which is also half term holiday for
most schools. It marks the start of the tourist season, and the vineyards themselves are
waking up to the new growing season – there is plenty to see and enjoy.” – The English
Wine Producers, April 2017.

This year, The Wine School of Cheshire is embracing Chester’s proximity to the Welsh
border to include Welsh wines within their annual feature event for English Wine Week by
hosting The Great British Grape Off at Restaurant 1539 at Chester’s historic racecourse
on Saturday 3rd June.

Richard Smith, founder of the wine school said, “I was thrilled to work with the English
Wine Producers at RHS Tatton Park last summer where I met Colin and Charlotte Bennett
of Gwinllan Conwy Vineyard where they featured their first release of wines from their own
vineyard in North Wales. Afterwards, I thought was a fantastic idea it would be to introduce
these wines to Cheshire and what better way than to include them in English Wine Week,
enabling my guests to enjoy a complete taste of British wine in one enjoyable afternoon

There are around 500 vineyards in England and Wales and a selection of the best will be
on tasting at this entertaining event in Chester, expected to include The Ridgeview Estate,
supplier to both Buckingham Palace and Downing Street, Chapel Down and The
Gusbourne Estate.

The Wine School of Cheshire’s signature Saturday wine tasting afternoons in Chester
always include a four-course gourmet lunch by Restaurant 1539’s Executive Chef Daniel
Speak, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy the very best of wine and food pairing in a
relaxed atmosphere. Dining events are usually limited to just 14 guests with the feeling of
an intimate dinner party with good friends.

The Great British Grape Off is £80 per person and tickets can be purchased at The Wine
School of Cheshire’s Chester web page at

Image courtesy of Gusbourne

Spring has officially sprung and Head Chef, Dan Speak and Cheshire Wine School’s Richard Smith have been working on creating the perfect food and drink match for you to enjoy. 

Here is what Richard had to say about this month’s new dishes.

First up, citrus cured mackerel with rhubarb, black radish and stem ginger

Chef has indeed set me a challenge this month with an amazing set of ingredients for this dish.

Usually, a mackerel wine match is fairly straightforward but adds in the strength of flavour of ginger along with radish, we need something a little different! I’ve suggested these fantastic wines from the list that I’d love you to try.

Bodega Pirineos Seleccion, Gewurztraminer, Somontano, Spain (£26.00)

Somontano is one of the least known wine regions of Spain, situated near the industrial town of Zaragoza, in the north-east of the country. Surrounded by mountains the soils are largely limestone with less extreme temperatures than other regions of Spain.

This is very different to other Gewurztraminers you may have tried before: there’s a more citrus and mineral flavour which is enjoyed by many Spanish varieties and the aromatic are much more subtle than it’s French cousins in Alsace.

Look out for mild tropical fruit flavours which, with the citrus, are perfect for the mackerel and the mild aromatics will enhance the ginger and radish.

Something special: The Four Graces Pinot Blanc, Oregon, USA (£50.00)

There is so much more to American wine that those from California and Oregon produce some truly amazing examples. This Pinot Blanc is unoaked and produced from vines which are now over twenty years old. (the older the vine the more concentrated the juice is)

Winemaker Marc Myers only recently joined Four Graces yet his Pinot Blanc scored an outstanding 91 out of 100 from the Wine Enthusiast.

You’ll find citrus and pineapple on the nose which continues on the palate, working perfectly with the mackerel along with a subtle creaminess and mild aromatic flavour which partners the ginger and radish perfectly.

Braised shin of Welsh beef with creamy mashed potato & a rich oxtail broth

One of my favourite main courses from this season’s menu is shin of been. Cooked to perfection here at 1539 the beef falls off the bone like a velvet glove and this dish deserves something special:

Château Ksara Réserve du Couvent, Bekaa Valley (£31.00)

Château Ksara is The Lebanon’s largest wine producer. The ‘château’ itself looks more like a large bungalow but the winemaking here shares many similarities with its French cousins for The Lebanon is a former protectorate of France and its winemakers mostly learned their craft in Bordeaux, home of the finest wine châteaux in the world.

The Bekaa valley is just 30 miles from Beirut yet enjoys a similar climate to Europe: the mountains protect the vines from the rain and snow. I was lucky to meet Elie Maamari from Ksara several years ago to share my passion for this incredible region and it’s a pleasure to see this wine here at 1539.

Réserve du Couvent was aged in oak barrels for six months and is medium bodied – perfect for a shin of beef. Look out for the vanilla on the nose along with an abundance of jammy fruits. This wine is calling for you to dive in for a taste! Enjoy the berry flavours along with a hint of plum and subtle spice.

Something special: Terrazas De Los Andes “Selection” Malbec (£44.00)

There’s Malbec, then there’s Terrazas de Los Andes ‘Selection’ Malbec!.

I first tried this wine with Olly Smith several years ago in Manchester and became an instant fan. The winery was purchased by Moet et Chandon in 1980, initially with the intention to tear up the Malbec vines that were planted in 1930 to replace them with Pinot Noir to make sparkling wine. Whilst some vines were lost by the 1990s they refocused on still wines and this wine began production in 1997.

It is made from grapes grown at an altitude of over 1,000 metres in Mendoza and is aged in French and American oak for 12 months. Whilst this wine is full-bodied it’s incredibly smooth with flavours of plum and black cherry. What are you waiting for? Enjoy! If you’ve some left after your beef, enjoy it with the cheese trolley. Or of course, ask for a second bottle!

Richard and The Cheshire Wine School are holding a number of fascinating evenings over the next few months, read about them here

We are delighted to be hosting The Cheshire Magazine’s charity lunch in aid of Variety, the children’s charity on Thursday 4 May. The lunch will start at 12 noon and will include a two-course lunch and welcome drink.

After lunch, there will be a Q&A with This Morning Televisions, life change therapists, Nik and Eva Speakman, who will share some of the secrets to change your life for the better.

There will also be fashion by Olivia May, entertainment and much more.

Tickets from £45 per person and to purchase tickets click here

Thank you to everyone that joined us for our first night at the opera on Thursday 23rd February. We are delighted to now be taking bookings for our next Opera Evening on Thursday 27th April.

We have two ticket prices for the evening.
Join us for a glass of bubbly and canapes on the Roof, followed by a three-course dinner. Whilst be Belle Voci entertain you with well-loved arias and classics for £39.50 per person. Alternatively just join us for a glass of bubbles and canapes for £15 per person and enjoy a relaxed evening of entertainment.

To book click here, or call 01244 304 611.

Join yoga instructor, Caroline Buist on our heated roof terrace on Tuesday 2nd May for yoga by candle light. The restorative flow class will start at 6:30 pm and will last for an hour, after the class you will be greeted with a cleansing drink and a protein snack. Heaters and blankets will be available for all, but we do advise wearing layers to keep you warm at the start and at the end of the class.

Tickets are £10 per person and are available in the restaurant or by calling 01244 304 611.

Dinner will be served after the class, and we welcome all to join.

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