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Why buy British?

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At the end of September, we will be celebrating British Food Fortnight – encouraging all of us to choose British food and drink.

Why buy British? Well not only do we have a plethora of amazing British produce to enjoy, but buying British has a bigger impact. Here are just some of the reasons to support our British producers:

 

  1. Supporting the local economy

By purchasing British products and more specifically, local produce, you are directly contributing to your local economy. Without the support of the local community, many small producers would simply not be able to continue.

  1. Carbon footprint

Buying closer to home reduces your mileage and as a result, your impact on the environment. Delicious food and drink on your doorstep with the added feel-good factor of taking care of the world we live in – yes please!

 

  1. Traceability

Let’s be honest, we all like to know where our food comes from. Buying British can almost guarantee you’ll know exactly where your meat was reared or in our case, where the grapes in your wine were grown.

 

  1. It’s delicious!

Any foodie will tell you that the first crop of English asparagus is worth the wait, and nothing tastes of summer like the first British strawberries… So why look elsewhere when buying British tastes so good?

 

  1. Nutritious

Eating the seasons can be one of best ways to plan your diet; when in season, fruit and veg are at their best and contain the most nutrients. This month is all about blackberries, butternut squash and kale so make sure you stock up!

And don’t forget, English sparkling wine is always in season…

 

Cheers!

Chris

Classic Curvée and British Blueberries

The blueberry season has begun at our sister company, Wye Valley Produce, and we are reaping the rewards here at Castle Brook.

Grown in the rich Herefordshire soil at our family farm, just a few fields over from our vines, we believe these blueberries pair perfectly with our Classic Cuvée.

For the less active cooks amongst us, a handful fresh from the punnet is good enough but we think the best way to serve them is piled high on a creamy panna cotta. The perfect pud for an English summer’s eve.
Take a look at the recipe below and let us know what you think! And don’t forget to add our award winning Classic Cuvée to your shopping list – available here.

BLUEBERRY & BUTTERMILK PANNA COTTAServes 6

INGREDIENTSFor the Panna Cotta

320ml double cream
75g golden caster sugar
1.5 tsp. high quality vanilla extract
2.5 sheets of gelatine, soaked in cold water
320ml buttermilk
110g blueberries

For the Blueberry Sauce

120g jam sugar
120g blueberries
2tsp lemon juice

METHOD

  1. Put the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a heavy bottomed pan and place over a low hear. Take off when the sugar has dissolved and the cream is just coming to the boil
  2. Add the gelatine (removing excess water) and stir until it has dissolved
  3. Add the buttermilk slowly, stirring thoroughly
  4. Evenly divide the blueberries into six glass ramekins and then pour in the cream mixture. Once cooled slightly, put them in the fridge to set. This will take about five hours but you can leave them overnight
  5. Lastly, make the blueberry topping. Start by dissolving the sugar in around 50ml water over a medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, boil gently until it turns to thickened syrup and has just begun to change colour. Add the blueberries and lemon juice, and move to gentle heat. When the blueberries have begun to soften, remove and cool
  6. Carefully spoon the blueberries into the ramekins and serve. Add a sliver of lemon rind, or some grated zest, to finish

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If you’d like to know more about Wye Valley Produce, head over to our website here. : http://www.wyevalleyproduce.co.uk

Celebrate your Father with Castle Brook’s Classic Cuvée

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Father’s Day is just around the corner and that means last minute gift ideas to show your love and appreciation for your father are due.

What could be better than a bottle of the Castle Brook Classic Curvée – the perfect gift for any wine-lover this Father’s Day.

Our Classic Cuvée is made using champagne variety grapes from our Herefordshire vineyard, blended together to give a unique taste like no other.

We even have the recipe for a delicious summery dish to compliment the wine so you can treat your dad to a homemade meal. Keep it fresh and seasonal with the recipe below – perfect with grilled free range chicken or as a side salad.

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ASPARAGUS SALAD

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

500g asparagus
1/2 cucumber
12 sweet cherry tomatoes (room temperature)
50g flat-leaf parsley
15g parmesan, freshly shaved

For the Dressing

1.5 tbsp. high quality extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 tbsp. lemon juice
A pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper

METHOD
  1. Slice off the woody ends of the asparagus. Use a vegetable peeler and starting from the bottom, peel upwards to create thin ribbons.
  2. Cut the cucumber lengthways in slices, halve the cherry tomatoes, and coarsely chop the parsley
  3. Place all the ingredients in a bowl
  4. Place the dressing ingredients in a jar and beat with a fork.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss
  6. Scatter the top with parmesan shavings to serve

 

To make sure you receive your bottle in enough time to add a bow, order from our website now: http://www.castlebrookvineyard.co.uk/product/classic-cuvee-sparkling-wine/

Castle Brook & Asparagus

Cobrey2902As well as being the very proud producers of our deliciously delicate Castle Brook Classic Cuvée, we also produce some of the very best British asparagus here at Cobrey Farms, under the Wye Valley Produce brand.

Therefore, the month of April is very important to us, as the first buds of colour start shooting from the ground. Usually beginning around St. George’s Day, the asparagus season is short but sweet and only here for a couple of months, so we certainly like to make the most of it.

Fresh, delicate and full of flavour, the green, purple and white spears of goodness are a real culinary delicacy. As with all fresh fruit and veg, asparagus tastes best when in season, so now is the time to start planning your recipes for the forthcoming season.

Asparagus is an ingredient that is difficult to match with wine, but just like any other ingredient, it depends how you cook and serve it. Luckily for us, it works wonderfully in the right dish, paired with our Classic Cuvée English sparkling wine. Here’s one of our favourite dishes to pair with our Castle Brook:

Asparagus Linguine with Pancetta
Serves 2

Ingredients
8 stems of asparagus
50g of thick cut pancetta (diced)
150g linguine
2 tbsp. grated parmesan
Salt and pepper

Method
1. Boil a heavy-bottomed pan of salted water and add the linguine
2. When the pasta is nearly ready, put a frying pan on heat with a drizzle of olive oil
3. Put the pancetta into the pan and sauté for 3 minutes
4. Add the asparagus tips to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes until the tips soften
5. Drain the pasta and toss with olive oil
6. Add the asparagus, pancetta, and a squeeze of lemon juice, and mix together
7. Top with parmesan, and season with salt and pepper to taste

You can buy our in-season, quality asparagus here & our English sparkling wine here.

We’re also giving away a bottle of fizz over on our Facebook page, so head on over & enter to WIN in time for the asparagus season!

Mother’s Day

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While you ought to treat your mum special everyday, Mother’s Day is the one-day of the year to go above and beyond to show just how infinite your love is for her. We’ve got a little idea of how you can show your Mum just how special she is to you. Get that spring feeling going & arrange a cocktail night with Castle Brook – for you, your mum and the rest of your family! Our favourite cocktail is a Rhubarb Fizz – one your Mum is bound to love too!

INGREDIENTS
SERVES: 6

Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
450g fresh rhubarb, finely chopped

Cocktail:
8 oz gin
9 oz rhubarb syrup
1 fresh lemon squeezed
12 oz Castle Brook Classic Cuvée
Apple and strawberries for garnish

METHOD
Add all of the syrup ingredients to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and let cook for 3 minutes, or until rhubarb is tender. Strain, so that there is no pulp in the drink. Pour into a container and store for 1 week in the fridge.

Put the gin, rhubarb syrup, lemon juice and ice into a pitcher. Stir to combine, then pour into glasses filled with ice, top with Castle Brook and your garnish!

Our idea is thoughtful and fun, but the mere act of gratefulness will easily show your mum just how much you love and appreciate her – plus there’s nothing like a bit of family bonding over a few cocktails!

We want to help you spoil your Mum this Mother’s Day, so head over to our Facebook page & enter our giveaway to WIN a bottle of Castle Brook!

Chris

Happy Valentine’s Day

CB19633Between pricey fixed menus and ridiculously long waiting times, dining out on Valentine’s Day is never what it’s cracked up to be. Instead, kick back with your date and raise a toast to Cupid in the comfort of your own home. Rather than buying your partner a cliche gift, pull out all the stops in the kitchen and show them how much you really care with a candlelit dinner for two.

Treat your partner to a quality meal with the very best ingredients from Wye Valley Produce, you’ll be supporting local too! Reenact that classic and romantic Lady and the Tramp scene with our Asparagus and Pancetta Linguine, or if your loved one is a big meat eater, you may want to opt for the Pan-fried Duck Breast instead! No fear, we’ve got dessert covered too… keeping within the theme, you could try our Rhubarb Lattice pie, or choose our super speedy Blueberry and Buttermilk Panna Cottas instead – trust us, they’re to die for!

Most importantly, there are many tipples that you can choose to drink on Valentine’s Day, but if you’re looking to keep the spark lit, then make sure you choose Castle Brook – when it comes to romantic reliability, this is second to none! Deliciously delicate, crisp palate with a hint of lemon blossom… we may be a little biased, but we think our Classic Cuvee has Valentine’s Day written all over it!

We’re confident that our Castle Brook could make all the difference to your plans, so we’re giving away a bottle over on our Facebook page.

Visit our page here, find the giveaway post pinned to the top of our page & let us know your perfect Valentine’s date, to be in with the chance of winning!

Good luck & have a lovely Valentine’s!

Chris

New Year and New Ways to Enjoy Castle Brook!

cobrey3017-1Welcome back…we hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a fabulous New Year!

We’re all about New Year’s resolutions here at Castle Brook, so this month we’re sharing some new ways to enjoy our sparkling wine…

If you’re hosting a dinner party and looking to give your guests a fruity kick on their arrival, then pay the perfect complement to our sparkling wine, by adding a drop of British Cassis to each flute – everybody loves a classic Kir Royale!

When drinks have been served, next up is the appetizer! Here’s our favourite for you to enjoy with your glass of fruity fizz – Pan-fried duck breast with mixed white and green asparagus and blackberry sauce.

Serves 2
Ingredients
2 large duck breasts with the fat scored
12 spears of white & green asparagus, chopped into 3-inch pieces
Sea salt
Black pepper
Small knob of butter

For the blackberry sauce
5¼ oz. blackberries
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 clove
½ fresh bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 tbsp. brown sugar
Large knob of butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 field mushrooms, finely sliced
100ml ruby port
100ml red wine
10 fresh blackberries to garnish

Method
1. For the blackberry sauce, place blackberries in a bowl and toss with the clove, lemon juice, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar.
2. Melt butter in a pan and fry the shallot and mushrooms over a medium heat until softened and light golden-brown. Stir in the port and wine and carefully set alight, then add the blackberry mix and a pinch of salt. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes, then purée in a blender or food processor. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and set aside.
3. Rub the fat of the duck with sea salt and black pepper. Place the duck, skin side down in a frying pan and place on a medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, until the skin is crisp and golden brown. Turn, then cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow the duck breasts to rest for at least two minutes.
4. Bring a frying pan of salted water (just enough to cover the asparagus) to the boil, and add the trimmed asparagus. Cook for four minutes. Drain and toss in butter.
5, To serve, arrange the asparagus evenly on two boards. Slice each duck breast with a sharp knife and place on the board next to the asparagus. Drizzle with the blackberry sauce, and finish with fresh blackberries.

We’re giving away a bottle of the good stuff over on our Facebook page for you to pair with our favourite recipes. To enter, simply visit our page, find the post pinned to the top, LIKE it and leave a COMMENT telling us what your New Year’s Resolution is, to be in with the chance of winning!

Good luck! 

Chris

Magical Christmas Markets

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-09-51-48The nights are drawing in and the Coca-Cola truck has been spotted on TV, which can only mean one thing: Christmas is coming! And with it, a glut of Christmas markets to enjoy!

Here’s our list of some of the best markets in the area for you to add to your Christmas calendar:

Usk
3rd & 4th December – Free entry
Celebrate Christmas in Usk at its traditional Christmas market, offering a weekend of live music, entertainment and stalls full of festive goodies and gifts.

Abergavenny
11th December – £5 per ticket
Enjoy the sound of Christmas carols, whilst slurping on a mug of mulled wine and wandering the 85 festive stalls, which are owned by some of the top producers in the area.

Shrewsbury
10th & 11th December – £6 per ticket
Warm up with a bratwurst or an indulgent hot chocolate at Shrewsbury Winter Festival held in Shrewsbury Quarry Park. Pick handmade gifts for your whole family and unleash your inner creativity at one of the workshops on offer.

Hereford
15th, 16th, 22nd & 23rd December – Free entry
Breathe in the smell of roasted chestnuts at the Hereford Christmas Market, and spend a couple of hours picking riches from some of the best foodie stalls on offer.

Cardiff
12th November – 23rd December – Free entry
Cardiff Christmas Market occupies a stunning location in the heart of the city so you can enjoy  wandering around the 80 carefully-selected stalls and, surrounded by the smell of gingerbread and mulled wine.

Christmas is just the most wonderful time of the year to indulge in some delicious food and drink so enjoy it all!

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Chris

Even More Award Wins!

CB19515 (1)Earlier this year, we celebrated two award wins for Castle Brook Vineyard’s 2010 Classic Cuvée, which we were thrilled about. Firstly, we secured a gold medal at the English and Welsh Wine of the Year Competition 2016 for the second year running (we’re allowed to show off aren’t we?). Secondly, three masters of wine tried and tested our Castle Brook at the 2016 Decanter awards, amongst 91 other wines and we were ‘Highly Recommended’.

Since then, we’ve won four more awards and we couldn’t be more excited to share the news with you!

We scooped a total of three awards at the South West Vineyards Association Annual Competition. First up we won the top gold medal of the Sparkling White class, beating wines from Camel Valley, Lyme Bay Winery and Sharpham to name a few. Secondly, we won The Ray Pelfrey Cup, which meant we were the best sparkling wine from a commercial vineyard. Finally, in a taste-off against other gold medal winners and a total of 155 wines altogether, we were also awarded the South West Vineyards Association Wine of the Year trophy! Hurrah!

Last but by no means least, we secured a gold medal at The Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships 2016!

To celebrate, we’re giving away a bottle of the good stuff over on our Facebook page. To enter, simply hop onto the page, find the post pinned to the top, LIKE it and leave a COMMENT telling us how many awards we’ve won this year so far… We know, we know, we love to count them…

Thank you as well to all of our Castle Brook customers for all of your continued support – 2016 has been a truly fantastic year for us here at the vineyard!

Rhubarb Recipes

July marked the end of rhubarb season, so if you’re left with a frozen batch of this beautifully hued vegetable that thinks it’s a fruit, then we’ve got a couple of delicious ways to use it up. Summer bank holiday is just around the corner, so what better excuse to get your pinny on and indulge in a few homemade treats.

Every dinner party should start with a welcome cocktail, so treat your guests to a refreshing Rhubarb Fizz…

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INGREDIENTS
SERVES: 6
Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
450g fresh rhubarb, finely chopped

Cocktail:
8 oz gin
9 oz rhubarb syrup
1 fresh lemon squeezed
12 oz Castle Brook Classic Cuvée
Apple and strawberries for garnish

METHOD
Add all of the syrup ingredients to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and let cook for 3 minutes, or until rhubarb is tender. Strain, so that there is no pulp in the drink. Pour into a container and store for 1 week in the fridge.
Put the gin, rhubarb syrup, lemon juice and ice into a pitcher. Stir to combine, then pour into glasses filled with ice, top with Castle Brook and your garnish!

For those of you with a sweet tooth, why not turn your Wye Valley Rhubarb into this Rhubarb Lattice Pie…

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SERVES: 8
INGREDIENTS
Butter for greasing
350g all-butter shortcrust pastry (you can use sweetened pastry if you prefer)
600g rhubarb, trimmed before weighing
230g golden caster sugar
Grated zest of 1.5 oranges
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
3 tbsp. ground almonds
Pinch of salt
Egg wash: 1 egg
A few drops of milk

METHOD
Butter a 23cm tart tin (about 2.5cm deep) and set aside. Roll out half the pastry until wide enough to line the dish with a little overhang. Place inside the dish, pressing down into the edges and trim. For the lattice: roll out the other half of the pastry into a rectangle and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Chill both for at least half an hour. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Chop the rhubarb into 1.5inch chunks. Place in a bowl with the sugar, ground almonds, cardamom, orange zest and salt, and toss thoroughly to coat. Fill the pastry casing with your rhubarb mixture. Remove the rectangle of pastry from the fridge and carefully slice the pastry into long strips around 1cm wide. Arrange the strips over the rhubarb in a lattice pattern and trim, saving three for the edge. For the egg wash, beat the egg and milk in a small bowl with a whisk. Using a pastry brush, coat the lattice with egg wash. Use the last three strips of pastry to cover the rim and then coat with the rest of the wash. Place the dish in the oven (on a baking tray to catch the drips, and to make it easier to remove). Bake for forty-five minutes, although if your rhubarb is very wet it may take a little longer. Leave it in the dish to cool slightly before transferring to a serving dish, or cool completely if you are serving it cold. Serve with cream, custard, or vanilla ice cream.

Don’t forget you can purchase your bottle of Castle Brook from your local M&S or Waitrose, or online here – http://www.castlebrookvineyard.co.uk/product/classic-cuvee-sparkling-wine/.

Enjoy!

Chris