Last week we had a visit from Stan, our expert consultant from Milton Sandford Wines. Stan was hosting an educational wine tasting session with our bar team, so that they could improve their knowledge of the wines that we stock, and it gave us a good excuse for a catch up with Stan, who is considered to be one of the most passionate, informative and entertaining wine educators not yet on television. Milton Sandford’s maxim is that good food deserves the best wine – and we wholeheartedly agree. Since 1990, they’ve been filling the cellars of some of the best hotels & restaurants, so they know their stuff. From their chalk cellars in Berkshire, they travel the world in search of the highest-quality boutique wines to share with their customers. You won’t find these wines on supermarket shelves, and often not even on any other wine rack, they really are very special. For example, take the Pinot Noir from Ilahe currently on our wine list. This winery in Oregon takes sustainable to the next level. Their vineyard is horse-powered, and they use wooden baskets to press the grapes. Some of their lots are made entirely by hand, with no electricity or mechanisation. Now you aren’t going to find that in your local corner shop. Bar Manager Shane has worked closely with Stan to develop a wine list which strikes a balance between smooth house bottles for everyday occasions, to special, quality vintages for celebrations. Stan brings these to us personally, and he and Shane can regularly be found musing over the latest delivery of boxes. It’s important to us that our staff try these wines, too, so that they can offer suggestions to our guests. Next time you’re visiting for dinner, ask your waiter or waitress to tell you something about the wine that they’re serving.  Or, just go straight for the wonderful oak-aged pinot noir from Ilahe.