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Gaily We Went To Manchester!

Last week marked the seasonal Boutinot tasting in Manchester- for those of you who don’t know, Boutinot is a fantastic wine importer who we use a lot. You may well have tried some of their very own fantastic Rhone of the same name. If you haven’t tried them, I suggest you don’t hang around as the current vintage is superb- plus a few of them are currently on a special case offer.

Martin and I were there to try some new wines and refresh our minds one some old ones as well. However we were also there with some special guests, Ali and Arthur from The Buccleuch and Queensberry Arms in Thornhill, Dumfrieshire. Arthur and his family have been restoring The Buccleuch and Queensberry Arms (BQA) for almost a year now to an exceptionally high standard.

I saw the hotel before the work began and still can’t quite believe what has been achieved in a year by an army of Polish builders and a Dutch family with exacting standards and a desire to bring back the heart to the local community. The last time I was at the hotel I was speaking to some guests who had stayed there under the previous owners. They had been advised to bring some tents to pitch in their bedrooms as the roof was leaking, things have definitely changed!

Now, in the centre of Thornhill stands a building that the centre of such a beautiful Scottish town deserves, with food and accommodation to match.

To make sure the wine list at BQA is up to date and up to scratch we met up with Ali and Arthur in Manchester for an afternoon of tasting and an evening of fun. Given that Arthur has for the past year absorbed himself fully in the world of hotels we thought it would be best to leave him in charge of booking the accommodation. However after a great afternoon with Boutinot where we found some superb new wines we went to the hotel to have a quick meeting and a drink. As we approached the hotel (rated number 2 on trip advisor apparently in Manchester) the number of rainbow flags increased significantly and we walked past esteemed establishments such as “Queer”.

Arthur in our hotel i Manchester

The four of us, all male entered the hotel, greeted by a a cabinet full of rubber ducks describes as “personal massagers”. Having been shown to our rooms we reconvened in the downstairs bar for a semi serious chat about wine and plans for the future. I always find that these meetings are benefited by disco lights, heavy crushed velvet seating and drinks full of glitter, which the barman described as “not really designed for putting in  drinks with but not too bad for you”.

After an hour or so of “serious” meeting we could not take listening to Kylie at full blast anymore so decided to move on to a fantastic Italian restaurant, the name of which I can’t remember but it was in The House Of Fraser, if you want to go. The sensational head waiter persuaded us to have far more food than we needed, which set us up perfectly for drinking some amazing cocktails in Mojo Manchester.

We then snuck back into our beds (separate) satisfied with our well indulged afternoon.

You can win a nights stay at The Buccleuch and Queensberry Arms in Thornhill and meet Ali and Arthur for yourself,  just enter our new competition!- Enter here.

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