Brunch and wine-tasting at Chalk Restaurant, Wiston Wine Estate
Brunch and wine-tasting. Two of Muddy's favourites things, so when we found out we could combine both in one morning we were down the A24 like a shot.
The award-winning Wiston Estate in West Sussex is one of those places that feels more than a little bit special. Set amongst the rolling hills its 6,000 acres straddle the chalky slopes of the picturesque South Downs. The estate has been owned and managed by the Goring family since 1743, with the first vines of traditional varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier planted in just 2006 across 16 of it’s acres.
In that time Wiston has won an impressive hat-trick of Winery of the Year awards and a Nebuchadnezzar of their Estate Brut NV was used to ‘christen’ the yacht Britannia by Queen Elizabeth no less. So we swotted up on our sommelier knowledge, (ahem), before arriving for our brunch at their new insta-worthy eaterie Chalk.
The newly opened Chalk (named after the famous chalky soil that’s so good for the grapes), is immensely aesthetically pleasing. In fact so busy was I capturing it from every angle for the ‘Gram I almost let my coffee go cold (and what coffee, roasted on the estate by indie brand Skylark).
The restaurant itself is in a refurbished flint barn (one of many on the site), and has been beautifully decorated with a dramatic suspended bar as it’s focal point, exposed beams and a muted palette. It’s flooded with light and frankly looks good at every angle (which is more than I can say for Muddy). There’s also a pretty courtyard with water feature which would be heavenly on a sunny day.
SCOFF & QUAFF
The menu is small but perfectly formed with options including sourdough toast and spiced granola with apple compote and yoghurt. To line my stomach before the wine-tasting (I didn’t plan on using the spittoons), I opted for baked eggs Florentine which was presented in it’s cast iron dish and was cooked to perfection. My husband (and designated driver – bad luck!) went for poached eggs & smoked salmon with an additional cheeky cinnamon bun on the side for good measure – fans of Gail’s you’ll be happy here.
The lunch menu is bijoux too with choices including pork shoulder with kale kimchi & swede followed by blood orange, olive oil & polenta cake. It’s not yet open for dinner but will be on Fridays and Saturday from 6 May, so keep your eyes on their site for bookings.
After brunch we strolled round to the winery and enjoyed an informative tour behind the scenes learning what goes into making their award-winning wines. Highlights include seeing their huge press which is a French traditional Coquard, one of only four outside of France and the only one in the UK. It’s a whopper and its large surface area and exceptionally gentle pressing enables extraction of the very highest quality apparently.
Next we headed to the tasting room to quaff some of their finest and I must admit I was decidedly squiffy after just ‘tidying up’ my husband’s leftovers. The Blanc De Noir, (£56) was a particular fave, but who am I kidding I loved them all.
On good weather days there are walking trails around the vineyard with incredible views as far as the Isle of Wight but as it was a touch inclement we made a bee-line for the shop. It’s impossible not to want to snap up some of the lovely wine and whilst my back was turned admiring the Skylark display my husband had spent the month’s housekeeping on several bottles of the bubbly beauties. Oh well, at least we’ll have happy memories and plenty of quality fizz to drink with our beans on toast!
THE MUDDY VERDICT
We loved everything about Wiston – combining amazing wine, great food and beautiful surroundings. I’m not sure we could ask for much more!
GOOD FOR The perfect venue for a classy date or a girly brunch. Its also ideal for yummy mummies to pop to for coffee as there is oodles of space for buggies in the courtyard, plus it’s pup friendly.
NOT FOR It’s not a budget option, but you get what you pay for and the surroundings are sublime so it’s a special treat lunch spot.
Wiston Estate Winery, Chalk Restaurant and Tasting Room. Tours from £25.
North Farm, Washington, West Sussex, RH20 4BB