A recent visit to California demonstrates that the 2012 vintage was at least as solid as early reports suggested, producing wines with a similar robust, fruit-driven profile to those from 2010, with none of the ripeness issue that was in evidence in some of the 2011s.
The heartland of our Californian sourcing is in Lodi, the area at the far north of the Central Valley where the maritime influence of the San Francisco Valley is felt, just as it is in the Napa and Sonoma to to the north-west. At entry level, the Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are particularly strong, as is the Zinfandel which is rich, ripe and still undergoing its elevage on oak. From a new source – one never before seen in the UK – comes a range of higher-level premium wines from an award-winning team whose sparkling modern winery has produced a number of California’s top premium brands since it was built in 2005.
Excitingly, for the first time, we are also offering fine Washington State wines including Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc, bottled in the UK. Prices here are less susceptible to vintage-by-vintage fluctuation, allowing consistency of price and quality. The wines are fruitful and well-structured, leaner than the Californians but charming and very much reflective of their birthplace.