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Notes from a Laithwaites Tasting  Add/Read Comments

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A few wine notes from Laithwaites

Not something you read about much are the wines of Laithwaites, despite being one of the largest wine retailers in the UK. They offer wines under the laithwaites brand, The Sunday Times Wine Club, Direct Wines and the Nectar Wine Club amongst others. They delivered a mammoth 56 million bottles of wine across the UK during the last 12 months.

A little tasting a few weeks back (I'm falling behind with my note writing!), in the high Victorian Gothic splendours of Oxford Town Hall (such a welcome change from having to trundle all the way to the metropolis), offered a just under 30 wines from the companies range.

A vast majority of the wines offered are own label - just a smattering from well known names (Cloudy Bay, Royal Tokaji, Hunters for example) appear on their list. The company owns a Chateau in Bordeaux where many staff are sent to learn the intercacies of wine making. Visiting a vineyard and winery is an amazing experience and really brings home the connection between land and final product.

Shame then that the Laithwaite Sauvignon Blanc (£7.89) from this estate, Chateau La Clarière was one of the worst wines available at the tasting. Perhaps they should send me a bottle to try for the girls running the tasting were hugely enthused by it and their experiences of visiting the estate, but my notes read slightly over extracted, harsh nose, sharp acidic finish.

But other drinks were more palatable:

Champagne/Sparkling Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Alessandro Gallici Prosecco Brut, NV, Vino Spumante, Italy.
Price: £8.89 [More: Adegga / Snooth]
Gentle nose, vibrant fizz (like you were expecting something else?), frothy, fun. Tranch of peachy, appley, fruit. Good price. Alcohol 11.5%.

White Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Royal Tokaji Dry Furmint, 2006, Hungary.
Price: £10.69 [More: Adegga / Snooth]
An unusual wine with which to tempt the masses; I imagine trying is the best way to sell this (there was a wine club tasting, with the same wines as offered to me occurring simultaneously in an adjacent room) . No nose but an interesting array of flavours on the palate - clean, minerally, citrus, slightly honeyed, apricoty.

Rose Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Rocky Rombola Rosé, 2008, New South Wales, Australia
Price: £6.29 [More: Adegga / Snooth]
Delicious looking colour, vibrant. Very Aussie in style, ripe fruit, full, good price. A freshness and vibrancy (that were lacking in a couple of other rosés at the tasting). Along with the fruitiness there is a nice, sharp berry edge on the finish. Alcohol 13%. £6.29.

Red Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Gran Valle de Niebla Pinot Noir, 2007, Rapel, Chile
Price: £9.15 [More on Adegga / Snooth]
From the reliable Cono Sur stable. Easy drinking, soft, but over-priced. Alcohol 13.5%.

Red Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Stony Creek Tarrango Shiraz, 2006, Big Rivers, Fleurieu & Gundagai, Australia
Price: £7.39 [More on Adegga / Snooth]
An interesting blend (70% Tarrango, 30% Shiraz) Light and fruity almost pinot in style. Tarrango on the nose, Syrah on the finish. Offers a juicy softness. Alcohol 13%. £7.39.

Red Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Tenca Tree Shiraz , 2007, Central Valley, Chile
Price: £6.29 [More on Adegga / Snooth]
Deep,almost opaque in colour. Good blackberry spiced nose and decent spicy finish. Commercial,soft but nice expression. Alcohol 13%.

Red Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: San Floriano Ripasso, 2005, Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Italy
Price: £11.39 [More on Adegga / Snooth]
The best red of the tasting - lovely palate, and rich, expressive nose. Plenty of tannins, concentration and ripe, stewed fruit. Good length. Alcohol 13.5%.

Cider Review/Tasting NoteCider Tasting Note: Cidre Artisanal Le Brun Brut, NV, Cidre de Bretagne, France
Price: £4.29
Not really a cider fan but this is rather nice - not 'dirty; as some ciders can be on the nose, not to alcoholic either (which is the normal region I dislike cider). Alcohol 5.5%. Sweetish fruit, dry finish £4.29.

White Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Miranda Golden Botrytis, NV, Riverina, Australia
Price: £11.15 half bottle [More: Adegga / Snooth]
A mix of Riverina Semillon and King Valley Riesling. Fresh, treacle and orange syrup nose. Rich, full, sweet, mouth-filling, ripe and good complexity for the price. Alcohol 10%.

Many years ago I was interviewed for a job at Laithwaites essentially writing the (prodigiously large and frequent) mailing material; much to their loss I didn't get the job!

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This entry Notes from a Laithwaites Tasting is under Wine Tasting Notes


Hmmm,reading your remarks reminds me why I don't particularly go out of my way to buy Laithwaites. Middle of the road and nothing really exciting to offer. Everytime I go to their shop in Surbiton and try their wines, I'm left unimpressed. Glad to see it's not just me.

Where the heck are the Aussie reds!!! They would put these euro trash wines to absolute shame!

It seems someone is perhaps a little bitter about being turned down for employment in Laithwaites??? :) Le Chai au Quai and some of their own branded champagnes are top notch and comparable to much higher branded vins!

bitter? Not at all, it was years ago! The wines listed here I would be happy to drink...

Laithwaites wines overpriced! I don't believe it! ;-)

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