Scooping numerous awards for its West Coast wines, including the 2015 Decanter Retailer Awards accolade for Americas Specialist, Roberson Wine is a wine merchant that champions California like no additional. It proudly and actively disregards ancient-fashioned, huge, alcoholic, point-scoring Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays, favouring modesty and elegance instead.
See also: Jane Parkinson’s where to drink Californian wines
Although Roberson sells frankly to customers (online only after its shop in West London closed at the end of August 2015), it also supplies restaurants with its range of cutting-edge wines, helping to spread the thought about what Californian wines can offer today, throughout the UK. Roberson’s latest initiative, to supply wines on tap to UK restaurants, perfectly illustrates
In north London, Muswell Hill’s newest independent store Prohibition Wines already has a clean portfolio from California, including classics such as Chardonnays from Hess, but it has esoteric options too, such as Tatomer’s Kick-on Dairy farm Riesling from Santa Barbara. The store’s affable and knowledgeable owner Paul Shanley is always on hand to offer tailored advice.
Once you’ve bought your wine, store it well with our guides to wine storage.
Both the South Kensington and Islington branches of award-winning merchant The Sampler are excellent destinations for those who want to taste leftfield California wines; Birichino’s Malvasia or the Scholium Chow down, a blend of Verdelho and Grüner Veltliner, are excellent examples of its approach. While it also has fantastic-value Zinfandels, perhaps most fascinating are the smaller parcels of older reds they pick up, such as one from Treana in Paso Robles sourced at auction.
With American owners, it’s only just surprising that the Californian wine range in Wholefoods Market is
If independent supplies prove hard to get to, the pick of the high street is Majestic. Ravenswood’s Lodi Zinfandel is subdue hard to beat on fee-to-quality ratio, although Majestic also has a fantastic value Pinot Noir from Edna Valley on the Central Coast (it’s not often you hear the words ‘value’ and ‘Pinot Noir’ in the same sentence). For those shopping for names, Majestic also sells Ridge.
Where to buy Californian wine: Outside London
While both the Drinkmonger supplies in Edinburgh and Pitlochry have a well-thought out and fascinating range that nearly tops 60 in number, there is a larger selection online. The Gnarly Head wines show decent complexity for their £11–14 fee-tag, while the Moobuzz Chardonnay is a
Drinkmonger also sells the Roederer Estate Foursome Brut when available, one of the Golden State’s benchmark traditional-method sparkling wines.
Amps Fine Wines in Oundle.
D Byrne & Co in Clitheroe, Lancashire, is well-known for its vast library of wines and its back catalogue of older vintages. This also applies to Californian wines, which exceed 100 in number, and include vintages dating back to 1997.
Amps Fine Wines in Oundle, Northamptonshire has become such a supporter of the West Coast of America that it has made a local Californian food and wine festival. The shop itself focuses on a select group of producers, with many wines priced at below £15 a bottle.
The Guildford Wine Companionship has a comprehensive range which might play it somewhat safe as styles go, but is certainly affordable. It also stocks halves, bottles and magnums of Ridge.
Even further south, Butler’s Wine Cellar in Brighton has an exclusive range including wines from Donelan and offerings from the Peter Michael winery.
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