Pendle Hill destination for New Zealand wine expert

Wine tasting on pendle Left to right-  Nick Mills, Tom Lorimer and Matt Ward
Wine tasting on pendle Left to right- Nick Mills, Tom Lorimer and Matt Ward

A New Zealand wine expert got more than he bargained for when he agreed to host a wine tasting supper at the Assheton Arms in Downham.

He certainly wasn’t expecting to open a bottle of Pinot Noir at the top of Pendle Hill on a wet and blustery March afternoon!

Nick Mills, one of the world’s leading biodynamic winemakers based in Otago, New Zealand, hosted a Rippon Estate wine tasting supper at the recently refurbished Assheton Arms.

Guests were given an insight into what is involved in ‘real’ winemaking while enjoying some of the Rippon Estate’s finest Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir wines alongside complementary dishes prepared by the Assheton Arms’ award-winning chefs.

Prior to the event, Matt Ward, a general manager at the Seafood Pub Company, thought it would be a good idea to take Nick and Tom Lorimer, a wine merchant with Lea and Sandeman, on a walk to the top of one of the area’s most famous landmarks to enjoy a glass of wine at over 1,800ft.

“As a winemaker, I’m an outdoors person but I’m not sure I was prepared for just how windy it was going to be at the top of Pendle Hill,” said Nick Mills.

As a winemaker, I’m an outdoors person but I’m not sure I was prepared for just how windy it was going to be at the top of Pendle Hill

Nick Mills, biodynamic winemaker

“It was a fantastic opportunity to meet some of the team from the Seafood Pub Company and Lea and Sandeman in a different environment and was definitely a talking point at the evening’s wine tasting supper!”

Joycelyn Neve, Seafood Pub Company managing director, added: “We like to really get to know our suppliers, and a muddy trek to the summit of Pendle was a great way to learn more about Nick and his wines. We were hugely impressed by his fearless mud sliding back down the hill; he’ll do for us!

“Nick proved a really entertaining and informative host for the wine tasting supper and we would definitely like to welcome him back to Lancashire in warmer weather in the future!”

The Grade II listed Assheton Arms reopened in January following a 10-day refurbishment of its interiors.

A new menu was also launched at the venue, which was named the 2015 Good Pub Guide’s Country Dining Pub of the Year and features in the Good Food Guide.

The refurbishment also allowed work to start on the Assheton Arms’ new accommodation offering. Twelve en-suite bedrooms, located in Downham’s former post office and Ash Tree Cottage, will be available to book from Easter.