Shh, Don’t Tell Anyone… | The Mount Vineyard, The Mount, Church Street, Shoreham, Kent, TN14 7SD
The Mount Vineyard in Shoreham, Kent – we were totally divided on whether to tell you about this place or not. Half of us wanted it to remain our little secret, so we can always ensure a seat at what has already become our favourite table. The other half felt that the world needs to know of its existence for it truly defines that over-used phrase ‘hidden gem’.
Picture the scene, we’d just been whiling away a couple of hours in another of our secret places in Eynsford, Kent, not too far from where we live. The sun was finally out after the wettest Spring that England has ever known. We weren’t ready to go home yet, even though we had tonnes of work to do. We’d passed signs for Shoreham on the way and I declared to Ade that it was about time we found out what was in this little village.
So we typed Shoreham into the Sat Nav (even though it was only 7 minutes away) and off we went, arriving in this picturesque Kent village moments later. It really is something, bunting hangs above every road, beautiful cottages give us massive house envy – not only that, there are four pubs. Yes, FOUR!
We like to keep our options open so we decided to wander past all the pubs until we found the right one for us. We had only just got past the first pub when we stumbled upon signs for The Mount Vineyard. As we walked up the quiet country lane, we came across a mass of vines and a beautiful looking house with pristine gardens.
As we rounded the corner we walked into a stunning terrace, gorgeous garden furniture and a bar with its doors flung open. This was not a mirage, this was real, we’d discovered a little oasis on the sunniest day of the year (so far).
Inside the understated yet modern bar, we found out a bit more about where we were. This little vineyard produces award-winning still and sparkling wine. Apparently there’s a sunny micro climate here and a chalk-stream valley is conducive to excellence in grapes. There’s a choice of five wines, even a decent red (it’s pretty rare to find an English red) all available to drink there or to take home. Things then go from brilliant to, er, even more brilliant. The prices are so reasonable, most wines are £5 a glass or £15 a bottle. Why oh why did we have the car?!
After a run-through of each wine by the well-informed and friendly guys who worked there, we settled back in the sun with a chilled glass of Flint Key 2013 (£5) for me and a surprisingly good glass of Cellar Key (£5) for Ade. We immediately thought of both sets of our parents and how much they would love it here, not that our own company wasn’t enough, it’s just we know how much they’d like it.
The wine is great, I’m not big on white wine but this was fresh, light and easy-going and didn’t leave me with that dreaded afternoon-drinking-wine-head. The red was a blend of Rondo, Regent and Pinot Noir grapes, again, easy drinking and delicious. We were toying with buying a bottle to take home, especially as it was only £13.
The White Pinot (£5) was lovely too, after losing their Bacchus crop to powdery mildew last year, they decided to try something new. With a good yield on their Pinot Noir grapes, they decided to produce a White Pinot made only from these red grapes. This unoaked a white pinot, pale gold in colour with tones of grapefruit, melon and green apple.
Ade dug into a Cheese board (£10) with utter delight as I tucked into an amazing quality Meat board (£10), loved the little pickled onion rings and artichoke that were served alongside the meat, great crackers too. They told us there are plans for a proper kitchen and that accommodation will be available at the end of July (hopefully).
Judging by the design of their bathroom, complete with Molton Brown soap and flickering church candles, we reckon they’ll do a fine job of the bedrooms. This is one to watch, people, just don’t tell anyone else…
Opening hours: Weekends from midday to 6ish
Nearest station: Shoreham (8 mins walk) –