Have you met our estate sommelier, Lewis Allport?

As you know we chatted to Lewis about the vegan wine flight a while back (read the blog here), but we wanted to find out a little bit more about him, his work on the estate and his favourite grapes for 2019…

When did your interest in wine begin and where do you think it stemmed from?

When I was a teenager I worked at a restaurant, which had previously won regional wine list of the year. Therefore I had to become quite knowledgeable about wine rather quickly. I soon became interested in all the elements of wine and curating a wine list. It was a great first experience and gave me a strong basic understanding of the drink.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Working in hospitality, the biggest buzz always comes from delivery of a fantastic service. I was always taught that to be a good sommelier isn’t necessarily about being able to be the best blind taster or having the most knowledge, it’s about being attentive to each guest and understanding their taste and needs. It’s crucial to exceed their expectations every time.

Where do you find your inspiration to create a wine flight?

I would say most of my inspiration comes from the ingredients included alongside the seasoning, acidity and sweetness of each dish. Once I’ve tasted the final dish, I’ll then have a couple of wines in mind that I think will compliment the ingredients well. I like to use a grape which is similar in weight or contrast to each dish to make sure it doesn’t overpower the food.

One of my favourite pairings is blue cheese and Sauternes, this is because of the contrast of the sweeter wine really does compliment the salinity of the cheese, it’s the perfect pairing.

And how about the wine? What can you be found enjoying?

Red. Although white is a much more versatile food partner.

Can you tell us about some new upcoming grapes for 2019? Can we find these at Forge and what do you pair them with?

It can be difficult to predict trends, a few years ago everyone was crazy about Riesling, a grape which I still love and a wine that can be an incredibly complex and versatile wine but the boom just didn’t really materialise.

I think a lot of the trends may depend upon Brexit and pricing structures, I personally believe people may start to look at more unusual grape varieties and regions. For example we recently tried a sauvignon blanc and chardonnay blend from a French winemaker that had been crafted in India - it was like an incredibly ripe burgundy and was pretty interesting taste and texture.

And finally, what are you three favourite things about Forge?

First it’s all about the team. We have a great working relationship and we’ve all worked together for a while now so it’s like an extended family. Secondly, the opportunity; it’s fantastic to be able to work somewhere that has just opened as you become part of the whole story.

And finally, the freedom I’ve been given to work closely with local suppliers and producers. I have made many friends through these working relationships and it has opened lots of doors to discover and source a unique variety of wines for the restaurant.

Please call 01325 377977 to make a reservation at Forge, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

An update from the Estate

It has been a tough week for everyone, and it is with sad hearts that we are announcing the temporary closure of our hotel & restaurant. We are not waiting for an order that falls too late, so we have taken the difficult decision to close the hotel in its entirety. Our upmost priority is to protect our loyal guests, the Middleton Lodge team, and our families at home. Unfortunately we are cancelling all bookings until 1st June 2020.

To be clear: we have had no suspected cases of COVID-19, either from our guests or our team. This is a heartbreaking decision, but it is one that we have made by choice, to keep you safe during this unprecedented time. Our last working day will be Saturday 21st March and we are in contact with all event organisers helping them to transfer dates. Our thoughts are with the NHS at this time of national crisis.

What about my booking?

If you have a booking of any kind (hotel, spa or restaurant) due to take place before 1st June 2020 we will be in touch with you personally via telephone or email. If you would consider rescheduling rather than completely cancelling your booking, that would mean so much to us as an independent hotel. We promise to do everything we can to deal with this situation as swiftly as we can.We are deeply sorry for the disappointment this causes; it has been a tough decision to make, but ultimately the right one. We respectfully request that you do not need to contact us about your booking at this time, unless directly requested to do so. Our lovely team are dealing with this as quickly as possible, and we don't want to overwhelm them, or slow the process for you. This is a huge ordeal for all of us, but with a level-head, we all will get through it. And we can't wait to welcome you back when we do.

Gift Vouchers

The redemption period will be extended to allow for this unplanned closure. If you would like to purchase a voucher please email the team via our contact page.

What Next?

Behind the scenes, our dedicated team will keep working diligently to ensure that we re-open in a way that is better than ever. You will be given the first opportunity to reschedule your stay and, when the time comes, we'll offer a safe, restful escape from this global ordeal.Please take care and stay safe. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your support during this difficult time. We can't wait to welcome you back.

The Allison Family and Middleton Lodge Team x