Sally Webb quaffs her way through The Pony & Trap’s latest wine list…
Every good West Country foodie knows that the Eggletons’ Pony & Trap, just outside the Somerset village of Chew Magna (named the Best Village in Britain by The Sunday Times), is an award-winner when it comes to food. Among other plaudits, it has found itself in the pages of The Good Food Guide and received a Michelin star for the last four years. The national press continue to rave about its local sourcing policies and rank it highly as both a country gastropub and destination restaurant. Having recently attended a wine tasting, held in celebration of the launch of its new wine list, I can attest that The Pony & Trap also really know its onions when it comes to grapes.
While I’m definitely more keen amateur than wine connoisseur, it was nonetheless clear that the list, chosen with the help of acclaimed supplier Matthew Clark, is considered, carefully constructed and thoroughly drinkable. As you would expect from an establishment whose chef-proprietor, Josh Eggleton, champions the use of local and UK-produced ingredients, The Pony and Trap’s new selection is peppered with the very best examples of British vinification. The light, fruity, all-rounder English House from the Three Choirs Vineyard – hidden just up the road in the Gloucestershire countryside and offering superb tastings, tours and dining – is produced closest to home.
Among the selection of Champagne, which includes a couple of exceptional vintage options, you’ll find a lovely sparkling wine from West Sussex’s Nyetimber, which is proof of what the UK is achieving in the bubble stakes. Of course, there are plenty of French bottles, including a particularly good Sancerre – I admit to going back for a second glass. A jolly good Riesling, billed as ‘food flexible’, comes from Fritz’s, a producer dedicated to perfecting one type of Riesling and nothing else – it’s a worthwhile quest that’s more than paid off. A Shiraz Cabernet from Australian winery JJ Hann proved very popular and bottles from South African Flagstone and Durbanville Hills were received with more than a little enthusiasm.
As my wending from table to table was performed in an increasingly wobbly fashion, time to leave was signalled by the designated driver. The scene as we departed was the perfect tableau of a country pub, with windows candlelit and a mix of locals and friends thoroughly enjoying themselves.
The list has been chosen to complement the seasonal dishes currently gracing Josh’s menu, so it seems only right that I return to dine and fully appreciate all that it offers. The tasting menu it is!