It’s the biggest week of the Jump Racing calendar and the only disappointment this year is that we can’t all be together to enjoy it.
However, while we won’t all be at Cheltenham for The Festival™ supporting WellChild to soak up the atmosphere and share the thrill of the chase, we can recreate what you’d be enjoying on your plate and in your glass.
So we asked Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, to shares his top tipples to help you celebrate the week from the comfort of your own home.
LET’S GET FIZZICAL…
Just as the SkyBet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle gets The Festival off to a flying start on the Tuesday, our first selection is the perfect accompaniment for the first of four days of top class action.
Nyetimber are makers of world-renowned English sparkling wine and Head Winemaker Cherie Spriggs and husband Brad Greatrix craft their wines meticulously from their West Sussex, Hampshire and Kent vineyards, achieving a supreme standard.
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée Multi Vintage is their signature wine and the most awarded English sparkler. This intensely elegant style is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Pair it with Severn & Wye Smokery’s salmon on blinis for a wonderful raceday aperitif. RRP £36.99 Available from Nyetimber, Majestic and Waitrose.
For a perfectly premium pink, try Nyetimber Rosé Multi Vintage - RRP £39.99, available from Nyetimber, Waitrose, Fortnum & Mason. Bursting with crisp red berries and subtle spice notes, this is a Grade One rosé that is great to drink on its own or paired with afternoon tea, while Nyetimber’s Cuvée Chérie Multi Vintage is a beautiful and overlooked Demi-Sec style, which is superb with afternoon tea and classic desserts. RRP £37.99, Nyetimber.
ALWAYS BACK THE RED…
Red is next in the running and the Beaujolais region in France produces great value wines including this Moulin-á-Vent 2019 from Domaine Lucien Lardy, available from Majestic £16.99. It’s medium bodied with ripe cherry and plum fruits. For those of you who prefer a fuller style, try Zalze Shiraz Grenache Viognier 2018 from South Africa, RRP £7.85 at Co-op. This is a smooth, rounded and very fruity wine from a reliably high-quality wine producer.
Alternatively, for a very special experience, the Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 from Houghton - it’s unbeatable. This outstanding red is rich, concentrated and complex with a sweet blackcurrant bouquet. Available from Cellar One Wine Shop, Weybridge, (2015 vintage from Shoreditch Wine House from £99), this wine is named after the great, late Jack Mann MBE, who is considered one of the pioneers of the Western Australian wine industry. Decant for an hour or two before drinking and raise a toast to Jack Mann, whose birth date of March 19th is the WellChild Gold Cup Day!
PRETTY IN PINK …
For a still pink perfect for The Festival, the artisan organic wines of Château Léoube are delicious. Côtes de Provence 'Love by Léoube' Organic Rosé, 2019, RRP £15.99 Daylesford, The Great Wine Co, Ocado is a wonderful choice – this dry Provence style rosé offers a balanced mix of strawberry and white peach flavours.
THE WHITE STUFF …
For white wine fans, the stand-out Grüner-Veltliner Yealands Reserve 2020, Awatere Valley, Marlborough RRP £12.99, Waitrose, has wonderfully honeyed notes, spice and pepper hints. Or, for a fantastic all-rounder, the easy-drinking Portuguese Casa Ferreirinha 'Planalto' White Reserva 2019, Douro, RRP £9.99 Majestic, hits the spot.
GET INTO THE SPIRITS …
Pulling away into spirits now, and Glenfarclas whisky is a must for Cheltenham, with the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase on Wednesday one of the most thrilling races of the week. Glenfarclas is distilled by the sixth generation of the Grant Family in the traditional Speyside way, and their unforgettable malts won them the Icons of Whisky Scotland Distiller of the Year 2020. Available from Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange, their Glenfarclas 10 Year Old is a superb aperitif at RRP £32 - £35. Alternatively, their superb Glenfarclas 15 Year Old Single Malt, which is aged in Sherry casks to give an intense and complex finish, is available between £48-£57. If you’re a whisky cocktail fan, Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength, RRP £50-£55, is the style to go for, particularly in a high ball. Try the delicious and easy to make 105 Mizu-Wari cocktail with 25ml Glenfarclas 105 and 150ml Soda water, served long with lots of ice and garnished with an orange slice.
For gin and racing fans, the perfect bottle is finally here! Burford Distilling Co.’s Racing Gin is a must-have in any home bar. Lemon, lime and herbaceous notes combine in this savoury-edged gin with wonderful floral highlights. The beautiful image of racing silks covering the bottle suits the stylish character of this new and exciting option for gin lovers. Perfect as a classic serve with a quality tonic water. Racing Gin RRP £37.00 and available from Burford Distilling Co, The Oxford Wine Company, Sip and Share, Vinotopia.
For a creative cocktail, try a Racing Gin Elderflower Collins by shaking 50ml Racing Gin, 20ml Lemon Juice, 10ml Sugar Syrup and 10ml Elderflower Cordial, pour over ice and top off with soda water.
Finally, for a feast delivered to your door, why not order a wonderful WellChild hamper from British Fine Foods. There are three exquisite hampers to choose from, all of which include award-winning food from artisan producers across the British Isles, championing the best of British.
For every hamper purchased, The Jockey Club will donate 10% to The Festival charity WellChild.
However you choose to celebrate The Festival at home, enjoy!