“Fiona Duncan once wrote in The Telegraph, The Newt is quite something. This 1,000-acre estate can be negotiated with a green, controlled golf cart, or if you have the time, its best to consider the details of the surrounding environment, which is a celebration of growth, beauty, and indulgence. Attractions include a strikingly reconstructed large Roman villa that echoes the original, easy-to-display adjacent ruins, as well as a Roman-facing winery and elevated vineyards, a particularly moving Bee Temple known as Beezantium, which will appear in a smaller form at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. An interactive horticultural story unfolds on a seemingly floating walkway, and a highly high-tech cider plant is housed in a traditional barn. Multiple restaurants celebrate local and often self-produced farm products, and theres distinctive accommodation in farmsteads, gatehouses, and historic mansions. The gardens took root a year before the sister estate, Babylonstoren, was built. In addition to todays formal garden rooms, vegetable gardens, and iconic apple and quince parabola trees, theres a Druid tree.”

Deer park and the original layout avenues, as well as the upcoming four-season garden, are all part of this project. Koos Bekker and Karen Roos, a South African power couple, bring you this exceptionally high-quality large project. Their Babylonstoren was established in 1692 in the burgeoning Franschhoek as a wine and wheat farm before it continued in Somerset. In 2013, they purchased the land in Brutton, a year after founding the nearby Hauser & Wirth Art Gallery, and opened it as a garden resort six years later. As the former editor of Elle Decoration, Roos crafted cozy interior designs, including the River Café-esque Garden Café, which is perfect for

On an incredibly affordable cyder flight, I had the chance to explore the cozy Farmyard pub and dine at the trendiest restaurant, The Botanical Rooms, located in the original Grade II mansion, Hapsden House, where the bar overlooks the croquet lawn. An open fireplace, open kitchen, and seamless connection crafted from local stone run throughout.

The Botanical Rooms offer snug oak rooms within the original house, perfect for winter and more intimate dining, featuring a striking emerald-green marble service station. Meanwhile, the terrace with a glass roof exudes a summery vibe – perfect for stargazers, perhaps.

As for beverages, wine and spirits are under the watchful eye of the waxen Sommelier, Louise Gordon, who is both revered and reviled for her distinctive appearance. Originally a “Tesco cashier,” she discovered her love for wine at a corner store in Cádiz, where she sold dry, medium, or sweet “La Mancha” bottles for as little as 69 pence to newlyweds, fueling their wedding celebrations affordably and abundantly. Subsequently,

Ive had the pleasure of dining at some remarkable places, including Clos Maggiore, the peak of Londons Jumeirah Tower at The Westbury, and The Rib Room. Then, it was Lime Wood in the New Forest, and most recently, Heckfield Place in Hampshire. As Gordon puts it, the seemingly simple “no tweezer and no foam” cooking is evident at The Newt, where the celebration is all about the ingredients, not about ego. Gordons disciple and successor is the inquisitive Stella Silvente. She plays a pivotal role in hosting wine tastings in the cellar for guests at a large table made from a fallen tree in The Newt. Silvente gets assistance from James Dillon, the head of the beverages team responsible for both spirits and wines.

Given the shared ownership, the focus is placed on Babylonstorens wines, ranging from Sprankel Cap Classique to Bordeaux-style blends like Nebukad…

Ive had the opportunity to explore a range of wines, from Nesar to occasionally indulging in very limited-release Pinot Noirs. There are also the organic wines from Tuscanys Vignamaggio, reputed to be the birthplace of Mona Lisa herself, with one wine in particular that has earned much acclaim. Just like The Newts Parabola, this property also benefits from the vision of designer Patrice Tara. During her tenure, Gordon has expanded the champagne selection, from the affordable and delightful Gratiot-Pillière NV to Billecart-Salmons Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Rosé, and shes working hard to introduce more British sparkling wines, possibly with ties to Somerset ownership, and a focus on the potential terroir of the local Wraxall vineyard.

Under Gordons care, The Botanical Rooms wine list has seen significant improvements over the past year. Gone are the tiresome descriptors like “full and smooth” and “medium and delightful,” and in their place, the wine list has more than doubled in size, featuring selections from all over the world, including premium…

Ive added some new items to the collection, including Cos dEstournel 1982, Latour 2005, Domaine de Trévallon 2007, Domaine de la Grange des Pères 2019, Luciano Sandrone Cannubi Boschis 2008, Ovid Hexameter 2017, Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay 2010, and Château Grillet 2018.

At the same time, the bars spirits tend to lean towards sustainability, with seasonal cocktails like the highly effective Asparagus Oil-Infused Black Russian Vodka Martini.

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