Monday, 4 January 2016

Salisbury, Wadworth Brewery and a little wine

Hubby and I have always had a mini break between Christmas and New Year, in the pat we'd take our children to London to see a show, this year we had a few days in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

It was a lovely drive down through Cotswolds and many picturesque villages. We took the opportunity to visit Old Sarum which is just outside the city. It's an Iron Age hill fort where the original Cathedral once stood; an amazing structure even now in it's ruined state you can see how impressive it would have been.
This earth mound doesn't look important now but ....
.... it was a Royal settlement with a Cathedral  
Original infill stone
Corner hearth
Did William the Conqueror walk up these? 
Footprint of the Cathedral
It was very windy on top of the mound, it must have been very cold in the winter as it appeared quite exposed. Saying that you could see for miles in all directions so a perfect place for a Royal Residence and town, it would have been difficult to attack without being seen.  

It was late afternoon by the time we reached Salisbury and found our hotel which was tucked away down a small lane in Harnham. The Old Mill Hotel sits on the river across the water meadows from the Cathedral. The oldest part of the mill dates back to 1299 and has three water runs underneath it. The taller building is 15th century and was originally a factory; paper, candles, wool are just three of it's various trades. It is now the main bar and hotel accommodation with the restaurant being in the Grade I listed building complete with water run through the middle.

The Old Mill Hotel spanning the River Avon with
Salisbury Cathedral across the meadows
Restaurant in the Grade I listed building
Water run racing through the hotel
View from our bedroom window
Our room was on the third floor and although earplugs were provided we were not disturbed at all by sound of the water run. The restaurant had beautiful views of the river and the Cathedral, both lovely to sit and watch at breakfast or evening meal.

Breakfast entertainment 
Through the window, through the gate and
across the meadow
It was lovely to walk the Town Path into Salisbury, both on our first evening and the following day. It crosses the River Avon and River Nadder and wanders across the meadows which are full of ditches that were built to irrigate the land at a time when the townsfolk farmed in the town.
Old Mill Hotel is linked to Salisbury by the Town Path 
Salisbury Cathedral was amazing, such a magnificent structure both inside and out. The cloisters, with their grassy centre and huge tree, felt very peaceful and the Chapter House retold the Old Testament in a carved frieze. The Chapter House is an amazing circular building which now holds one of the original copies of the Magna Carta. Inside the Cathedral is the world's oldest clock  (probably) dating back to 1386, it is an amazing structure with no actual clock face. The Cathedral was certainly breath-taking in many ways.

Adam and Eve on the Chapter House frieze
 Magna Carta inside the protective tent
Clock dating back to 1386 
Beautiful modern font
the water was flowing yet completely still
Cathedral ceiling reflected in the font
Inside Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral - side view
Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury was great for our mid festive mini break, the hotel was a great location and Salisbury had plenty to see and do. The city centre had so many shops and one in particular we popped into was Cambridge Wine Merchants. Over the last year I have been saving any 2015 coins we had in our change and by our trip away we had nearly £20 - what better treat than a bottle of wine .... or two !

Our 2015 collection
Our treats for the New Year from Cambridge Wine Merchants
We took a little detour on our return journey, well two detours actually; the first being to drive past one of England's most treasured piece of history that still baffles people as to its reason, purpose and construction.
Stonehenge (quick photo as we drove by)
Our main detour was to Devizes for a visit to Wadworth's Brewery. We arrived a little early and had the chance to wander around the small town, dodging the rain. We had also booked Wadworth's Hogshead platter board for lunch - a real brewery treat. I had Corvus with my platter, a lovely creamy stout.
Hogshead Platter Board
The tour was over the three floors of the original building with all the old machinery that is still in use - however there is also a modern stainless steel brewing room. Although it looks old and is more work I quite like the look of the original equipment. Wadworth Brewery has beautiful shire horses that are still used to deliver beer to Wadworth pubs within a two mile radius of the brewery. Max and Monty are the two main shires - both huge and so lovely; the new boy is Archie who quite enjoyed all the attention.
Archie enjoying the attention
Delivery time (photo from Google)
Huge empty vat
Brewing time - you can see how high the yeast has been 
The modern era
Steam power in the old days 
Wadworth Brewery 
What better way to finish a tour than with a tasting. No more for me as I was driving us home but Hubby enjoyed samples of quite a few, his favourite being 6X. We bought a variety home so I'll be able to try some too although I did bring some Corus as it was so lovely. We also bought two goblets but one hasn't survived :( if we ever pass by we'll be popping in for a replacement.

Wadworth beers 
 As you can see from the length of my post this time we had another great time away, I would have preferred a dry, roadside flood free drive back but all in all a great time at Old Sarum, in Salisbury, at the Old Mill and visiting Wadworth Brewery - thanks all.

I can't finish writing yet as I have a few wines to tell you about; firstly I have received two more bottles from Aldi to review. Although they arrived before Christmas we have not had chance to open them, mainly because most nights over the season one or other of us has been driving. I'm sure they will be opened soon, I'm very keen to try them - maybe as a comparison as they are both Pinot Noir - thank you Aldi.
Aldi Pinot Noir to be reveiwed soon 
And finally on New Year's Day we opened a very special wine. It was the only day neither of us needed to drive and so we decided to open our bottle of Yalumba FDR1A 2009.

We bought this bottle of FDR1A in 2010 at a Matthew Jukes' 100 Best Australian Wines tasting night hosted by SH Jones. We loved it and splashed out on a bottle - over £20 

It's been on our rack waiting for the day we had time to enjoy it .... and we certainly enjoyed it. 
Such a deep red it's impossible to see through the glass, just a hint of scarlet on the rim. Rich tears covered the glass confirming its 14% 

And what a nose, so comforting, ripe cherries, spice, with an abundance of redcurrants. 

So lovely you don't really want to drink it but when you finally take a sip of this full bodied red your mouth is full of rich fruit, black olives and a long finish with fine tannins and a spicy warmess that goes right down to your toes.

If you are looking for something a little special it's worth asking your local independent wine merchant for this one. 
Yalumba FDR1A 2009
Wishing you all a very enjoyable 2016 wherever your travels take you and whatever beer/wine you are lucky enough to try - cheers :) 

1 comment:

I'm so pleased you're enjoying my travel and wine ramblings - I love reading your replies too, thank you for posting a comment