Our pick of things to do in May. Wine lovers, it’s all the inspiration you need…
Take a stroll here: Balfour Art and Wine Tour
“The relationship between wine and art is a fascinatingly intricate one and producing a portfolio of award-winning wines is an artform in itself,” say Richard and Leslie Balfour-Lynn, the owners of Hush Heath Estate, which has recently launched a new art and wine tour. Join one of the knowledgeable Balfour Ambassadors, to learn the story behind most significant pieces of artwork and sculpture from the Balfour-Lynn private collection whilst enjoying a glass of Balfour Brut Rosé. Then enjoy a tasting of their wines, beers or ciders in The View tasting room, before wandering the 400-acre estate to discover the beautiful pieces of art and sculpture on display.
£35 pp, book at husheath.com.
Garden party here: Monkey Island Estate
From belated birthdays to new arrivals, we’ve all got at least one reason to book a celebratory gathering with loved ones now restrictions have lifted and what better place to kick start British summertimethan on an island?! Monkey Island Estate in Bray has transformed one of its handcrafted Shepherd’s Huts into a rustic summer hideaway ready to welcome groups of up to six people for a celebratory picnic. Enjoy a gourmet hamper of local treats and chilled bottles English sparkling wine from Marlow vineyard Harrow & Hope, while soaking up views of the river before working off lunch with a game of croquet on the lawn stroll around the pretty landscaped gardens.
£100pp, book at: monkeyislandestate.co.uk
Book a table here: London’s low intervention wine bar
Cotswold low intervention wine bar, The Cellar, opens its second site in London this month. Following the arrival of their debut site within a grade II* listed building in Stow-on-the-Wold in September last year, The Cellar will open in Kings Cross on May 17. Inspiration for the ‘sustainable viticulture’ wine bar comes from the food and drink market culture found in place like Bologna and Madrid; a relaxed and approachable environment, where customers are encouraged to sample and share. Charcuterie and cheese plates, including British curds, cures and breads from local producers, such as Neal’s Yard Dairy, Saltpig Charcuterie and Brindisa, are served alongside only wines made with minimal intervention as standard.
Ride along here: LeBlanq Tours
Guided by pro-cyclists, LeBlanq is a new venture that combines the best of cycling and gastronomy in beautiful destinations. Unfortunately the first tour through the Surrey Hills o May 30th, which is led by Joanna Rowsell MBE and Adam Blythe and includes a tasting at Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking and a Michelin-star 5-course feast from Steve Drake at Sorrel, has sold out. However, Eddy Merckx, will host a tour through the vineyards of Champagne in August, with food prepared by Ashley Palmer-Watts and Raymond Blanc OBE.
Celebrate World Chardonnay Day
Some say International Chardonnay Day is on May 21, some say it’s May 27 – we say ‘why not celebrate both?’ And what better tipple to celebrate with than Rathfinny’s newly released 2017 Blanc de Blancs, £39,50. This 100% Chardonnay Sussex Sparkling has been aged for 36-months on its lees and has a heady nose of ripe papaya, creamy lemon and light butter pastry and flavours of peach and lemon zest to the finish. Pair with fish and chips or go all out with butter-braised lobster or oysters.
May also sees the release of the second vintage of Rathfinny’s Classic Cuvée, which is available exclusively from Harvey Nichols throughout the month of May and is priced at £29.50.