Wines by the glass
No need to travel to London to find a restaurant where you can order high-end wines by the glass. The White Horse pub in Hascombe offers the entire drinks list by the glass - which makes the wine cellar super accessible and very inviting.
A cluster of restaurants and pubs now offer a wonderful selection of wines by the glass including high-end wines that could traditionally be ordered only by the bottle.
And the good news for us Surrey-ites is that we don’t have to travel to London – thanks to the innovative thinking at the White Horse pub in Hascombe where the entire wine list can be ordered by the glass, in either 125m or 175m measures.
Wine is about discovering new tastes, new flavours and fabulous pairings. And this is a game-changer that opens up a whole new world of wines for visitors to the White Horse. It also means that punters aren’t forced to buy an entire bottle, when perhaps just a glass or two is all that’s desired.
But the big advantage is that you can order wine to pair perfectly with your food. Fancy a glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape with your lamb? No problem! And while you sip your red, your partner can enjoy a fine dry Riesling with their fish. Perfecto!
The secret to the White Horses’ extensive cellar is a natty gadget called a Coravin, invented by a surgeon who wanted to enjoy a glass of fine wine without opening an entire bottle. It works by inserting a fine surgical needle through the cork, which allows the wine to be poured out while an inert gas is pumped into the wine to replace the wine and preserve what’s left in the bottle. The cork heals itself which means the wine can continue to mature and age.
The pub’s autumn menu is now in full swing and a greedy desire to sample some of the menu, and also taste test the wine cellar, led me to a lucky lunch with the owners Paul and Sorrel Morganti, and the wine experts from award-winning local wine merchants Taurus Wines, Rupert and Felicity Pritchett.
There were five courses – and each was paired with a taste of two wines chosen by Rupert. Shall we?
First course: Rabbit, pistachio and ham terrine, with fig chutney and Secretts Farm leaves
The wine: Un Bon Canon Pays d’Oc Pinot Noir 2017 and Fleurie La Madonne, Le Reine de L’Arenite 2107
Both French and in a similar price bracket, each of these reds offer up a wonderfully light and palatable option that pairs well with the light rabbit terrine. A vote among the lunchers put the Pinot Noir ahead at 4-1.
Second course: Seared scallops and pork belly with quince puree and golden raisin dressing.
The wine: Domaine Daulny Sancerre 2018 and Poderi Colla Langhe Riesling 2017
A Loire Valley wine, the Sancerre is bright and fruity, but not overpowering – so a great option for white fish dishes. The Riesling, from the north of Italy, is perfectly dry with juicy ripe lime notes which paired beautifully with the scallops and the pork. While both wines were lovely, it was an easy 5-0 win to Riesling.
Third course: Roasted pumpkin and wild mushroom risotto Truffle pecorino
The wine: Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio 2017 and Rive Barbera 2016
Mixing it up with a choice of red or white – the Pinot Grigio offers a full flavour to support the creamy risotto, while the Rive Barbera, from Piemonte in Italy, has a rich and voluptuous texture that stands up well to the truffles. It was a pretty close-run race between these two, but the red came out on top with 3 votes to 2.
Fourth course: Roast lamb canon with mini shepherd’s pie and buttered black cabbage
The wine: Paul Boutinot Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2016 and Viña Real Rioja Gran Reserva 2012
The first – a rich, smooth all-rounder that’s simple and straightforward and fabulous with red meats and stews. The Rioja is more intense, with a heavier and richer flavour. Both worked really well with the lamb, but the Rioja was the preferred choice for 4 out of the 5 of us.
Fifth course: Pale ale braised beef cheek with salt baked swede puree, fin beans, smoked pancetta lardons, baby onions and mash
The wine: Rustenberg John X Merriman 2017 and Guigal Côte Rôtie 2014
The Rustenberg is a South African wine with a dry smoky flavour and a gorgeous match to the beef. But it was the Côte Rôtie that won our palates on the day with it creamier flavours of vanilla, blackberry and raspberry.
The White Horse, The Street, Hascombe, Surrey, GU8 4JA. Tel: 01483 208 258. whitehorsepub.net