I have to say, I really like The Arch, the Laithwaites flagship store in the Vinopolis complex by London Bridge; the tall arch gives the feel that you’re worshiping at the altar of wine. Now I know that might upset one or two of you, but there’s something about the structure that is a little church-like, only spoiled by the occasional rumbling of trains making their way to and from Waterloo and Cannon Street. Laithwaites had invited media flunkies to a tasting of some of their Californian wines available to customers during the summer months. There were only fourteen wines, so this was a little more manageable than some tastings I’ve been to; wine tastings can be a little trying, for me at least.

Anyway, to the tasting itself, ten of the wines were reds, three white and one rose. The rose was one of the stand outs for me, Petticoat White Zinfandel 2010 with its strawberry and cream nose and its slightly fizzy strawberry flavour and creaminess on the palate, it had some light refreshing acidity and a good length on the palate. It’s definitely a great summer quaffer.

Of the three whites, the Drawbridge Riesling 2009 had delicate minerals on the nose, but on the palate bright zesty citrus in which lemon shone through in this very tangy fruity wine. The Deepwater Point Chardonnay was fresh and sharp, yet had some creaminess to its nose, there was good fruity on the palate, lemon came through well and there’s a tangy acidity both in the mouth and in its length. The Raymond Family Napa Chardonnay had a heady nose with yellow fruits some acidity; on the palate it was a big fruity mouthful, fresh, with some acidic fruit sweetness and good length.

Of the ten reds, the Forbes Creek Rietkerk cabernet sauvignon 2009 was one of the stand outs, it had good blackberry and some vanilla on the nose. On the palate, there were rich blackberry and sharp blackcurrant coming through in this medium bodied red, with medium tannins and some spicy pepper in its finish. The Baileyana Cuvee du Clos Pinot Noir had bright cherries and red berries on the nose, but this lighter to medium bodied red had dark berries on the palate and pepper; it had medium tannins and there was a good fruity length to it. The Black Saint Peter old vine Zinfandel had a deep black fruits on the nose in which blackcurrant shone through. On the palate there was rich smoky blackcurrant and some acidity, yet it was voluptuous with a medium to fuller body with some tang and pepper coming through in its very nice length. The other standout red for me was the Mayacamas Ridge Pinot Noir, which has creamy ripe red fruits on the nose. In the mouth you get acidic fresh red fruits notably redcurrant, with cherry and there’s some peppery heat; this was a medium bodied wine with good length.

I could go on, but you can find out more about these wines and more by visiting the Laithwaites site