Curating a wine list to complement Executive Chef Ian Webber’s cooking and excite the eclectic mix of guests who dine at The Farmers Arms is no easy task, but it’s been a delicious challenge for Food and Beverage Manager Harry Brooks.
‘Ian’s menus at The Farmers Arms change frequently throughout the season, so he always keeps me on my toes,’ says Harry, who loves sniffing out one-of-a-kind wines.
‘We have a good number of wines available by the glass at any time, so guests can pair dishes from Ian’s menus with wines that’ll complement each course, without having to order a bottle each time.
‘We like to keep things casual – this is still a pub after all – so, instead of printing pairing suggestions on the menu, we encourage diners to chat to the front of house staff. We always have a recommendation or two up our sleeves!’
When curating the collection, Harry looked for a couple of knockout house wines which would remain on the list throughout the year. They needed to be the sort of sips that guests would want to return to time and again, and delight everyone – from locals calling in for a post-walk drink to diners visiting for a special occasion. The brief was to find interesting and noteworthy wines that would be both accessible and well priced.
‘You don’t find many good Champagnes by the glass for under £10 so, instead, I sourced a lovely Crémant from Burgundy,’ says Harry. ‘Our house white is a fantastic Sauvignon Blanc from Argentina – a brilliant alternative to the New Zealand varieties.’
A Le Verre de Vin wine preservation system enables Harry to offer a great choice of wines by the glass, and he’s also sourced his favourite ports, sherries and dessert wines to help guests round off their dining experience in style.
Visitors can explore a list of around 50 bins which features a clutch of the best of English wine (including sparklers from Knightor in Cornwall and Langham in Dorset) and a good showing of organic and biodynamic finds.