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Chablis winners announced

Published:  19 January, 2010

The winners of the annual Chablis Wine Contest, covering the 2007 and 2008 vintages, have been announced.

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Hillebrand buys drinks logistics rival

Published:  19 January, 2010

Specialist drinks shipper ABV Logistics has been bought by JF Hillebrand.

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Wines in the press - January 15-18

Published:  19 January, 2010

Guardian

Some people tell Victoria Moore they don't like oaky wine. "But what does oaky mean, anyway? She asks.

 

"Oak is one small word that encompasses a thousand different ways in which wood is used to change the taste of a wine," explains Moore.

 

American oak typically imparts a vanilla-like flavour, there's French and Slavonian (which is commonly used in Chianti) and trees from different French forests also have particular characteristics, she adds.

 

Moore likes, "the broad, ample spread", of Viña Herminia 2004 Rioja (£9.49, Waitrose) which has spent 12-15 months in US oak.

 

The Observer

 

As a new year resolution, Observer reader Nick Armstrong chose to limit himself to one bottle of wine a month for 2010 and sent Tim Atkin MW, an email asking for recommendations.

 

Atkin's theory is, "if you've only got one bottle of wine to look forward to each month, it had better be special."

 

He is determined to find Armstrong a case for less than £175 and has chosen to build his recommendations around three grape varieties - Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling. Atkin has also chosen to pick contrasting examples from both New and Old World wines.

 

The Sauvignons are; 2008 Pouilly-Fumé, Domaine Raimbault-Pineau, Cuvée Cassandra 2008 (£13.49, Laithwaites) and Vavasour Sauvignon Blanc, Awatere Valley 2008 (£9.99, Majestic).

 

The Chardonnays are; Marks & Spencer Saint-Romain 2007 (£10.99) and Carmen Winemaker's Reserve, Casablanca Valley 2007 (£9.99, or £7.99 each for two, Majestic).

 

The Rieslings are: Dr Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Kabinett, Mosel 2008 (£12.49, Waitrose) and Peter Lehmann Wigan, Eden Valley 2003 (£16.99, Oddbins).


Telegraph

 

Susy Atkins says people think you're getting old when you start to notice how young policemen look. But she adds, it is the same with the 2009 wines which are already in our homes.

 

"So are they any good, these whippersnapper wines?" She asks.

 

Don't expect great complexity, Atkins says, as more time is needed to create the richer flavours associated with oak-ageing etc and 'nouveau' reds are patchy in quality.

 

Atkins particularly likes the new South African Sauvignon Blancs, "which have a vibrant, vivacious quality, with lively notes of lime, passion fruit and green capsicum".

 

She recommends, Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2009, South Africa (Waitrose, £6.99).

 

Independent

Anthony Rose says: "It's hard to underestimate the value of family when so much of today's wine is in the hands of the faceless global corporations."

 

"But the family can also be a powerful brand in its own right," he adds.

 

Rose explains family ownership guarantees a patient and long-term outlook that Spain's Miguel Torres thinks is much needed in the wine industry.

 

There can be a downside too, says Rose, for instance France's chronic problem of the law of succession, where property becomes so divided it becomes fragmented.

 

Rose says, Australia is showing its wines are creations of personality by launching Australia's First Families of Wine.

 

Australian producer Stephen Henschke's tells Rose that in his opinion families are the ones who can provide succession to the next generation, "while the 'multicorps' go into meltdown".


Financial Times

 

Jancis Robinson MW, is summing-up the 2008 Burgundy vintage currently being offered by wine merchants around the world.

 

She says the 2008s are nothing if not "fresh". Acid levels are notably high, Robinson explains, but provided the vines were not overloaded with grapes too numerous to ripen, the best wines seem to have developed enough flesh to compensate.

 

Robinson adds, it was not always so. "For their first few months in barrel, the 2008s looked irredeemably tart, and even the best failed to round out until well into last summer or even later."

 

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Scots bigger drinkers than English or Welsh

Published:  18 January, 2010

Scottish people drink 25% more alcohol than English or Welsh and the gap is increasing according to a National Health Service survey.

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Alastair Stevens, founder of Stevens Garnier, dies after long illness

Published:  15 January, 2010

Alastair Stevens, the founder of wine agency Stevens Garnier, has died peacefully at home after a long illness.

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Silvano Giraldin joins Just Great Wine

Published:  15 January, 2010

Silvano Giraldin has joined British wine merchant Just Great Wine as a consultant.

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Great Western joins Environment Agency scheme and considers appeal

Published:  14 January, 2010

Great Western Wine has come to a legal understanding and agreement with the Environment Agency to meet its reclycing commitments following an initial £35,000 fine which it is now considering appealing.

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UK wine market sees steady growth

Published:  14 January, 2010

The light wine market has grown faster than any other major category of alcoholic drinks over the last 10 years, according to a consumer survey.

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Johnnie Walker gets intense

Published:  14 January, 2010

Diageo is launching a new variant of the world's number Scotch whisky brand called Johnnie Walker Double Black.

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Skalli to launch new signature

Published:  14 January, 2010

Southern French producer Skalli, has launched a new signature across its wine labels in celebration of its 90th anniversary in 2010.

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Restaurants and online thrive over Christmas

Published:  13 January, 2010

The restaurant trade is reporting a good Christmas, although the bad weather of the past two weeks has kept customers away.

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Conservatives to scrap alcohol unit system

Published:  13 January, 2010

A Tory Government would abandon the current unit system for alcohol and replace it with labels detailing alcohol centilitre volume and calorie count, it has been revealed.

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Navarra wines to get consumer boost

Published:  13 January, 2010

A new initiative to promote the Navarra wine region is being launched by The Consejo Regulador in Navarra.

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Tesco goes lightweight

Published:  13 January, 2010

Tesco is rolling out the lightest glass wine bottle available in the UK on its own-label ranges.

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A rosé future for rosado

Published:  13 January, 2010

Exports of rosados from Navarra to the UK rose by over 30% to the end of October 2009, due to increased promotional activity says the Consejo Regulador Navarra. 

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Wines in the press - January 9-11

Published:  12 January, 2010

The Guardian

 

As a relief from heavy winter food and cosy red wines Victoria Moore turns to Riesling. "I long for a glass of white, cold from the fridge, tingling with acidity." She adds, its piercing lime flavour also works well with Thai-style food.

 

Moore recommends Viña Leyda Costero Riesling 2009 (£6.95 on offer at Majestic) that she says is from a valley cooled by breezes from the Pacific, making it brisk, fresh and tight.

 

She also likes Mineralstein Riesling 2008 (£6.99, Marks & Spencer), that is made with grapes from slate vineyards in the Mosel and basalt vineyards in Pfalz. 

 

The Times

 

Jane MacQuitty says to drink well and cheaply in 2010 don't look to the big expensive obvious names, but for the next best thing.

 

Her advice is to start by buying the second and third wines from top Châteaux. Or go for bottles from outlying areas such as the Côtes de Castillon and Fronsac.

 

Chile's offers a great source Bordeaux-styled blends, she adds.

 

Regarding whites, she says plenty of white Burgundy-aping Chardonnay can be had from all over the world but many winemakers overdo the oak and alcohol. Her recommendation is Domaine Begude Le Bel Ange Chardonnay 2008, Languedoc (£6.99 at Majestic).

 

The Telegraph

 

There are enough worries in the wine world as we hit 2010, says Susy Atkins. But she adds one pice of good news is that "Oddbins is back on form."

 "The aim is to return Oddbins to being the passionate, characterful company it once was, and Baile Jr looks to be achieving just that." She explains how over the past 18 months the team has kicked out a hefty 1,200 old lines and brought in 500 new labels. "The average spend per bottle is now £7.64, so business seems fairly upmarket, too". Atkins advises people to look out for its subtle, food friendly wines, many from smaller producers, lesser-known Champagne houses, unusual Italian wines and the Rhône, and she says she's impressed by the elegant New Zealand range. The mission statement is to put the fun and enthusiasm back into the shops, says Atkins, "and so far it seems to be working". 

 

The Observer

 

Tim Atkin MW asks have we dumbed wine down in the process of simplifying it? The major grape varieties and the places they are grown have become, "as familiar as Simon Cowell's sneer", he adds.

 

Instead he is finding exciting blends that use grapes in less familiar arrangements such as warm and cool climate marrying.

 

Two of his choices come from Chile. He recommends Coyam, Colchagua, 2006 (£12.99, www.virginwines.com) which is made from Syrah, Carmenère, Cabernet and Merlot. Plus O Fournier Centauri Red Blend 2008, Maule (£14.95, Bottle Apostle) which Atkin says "blends Cabernet and Merlot with old-vine Carignan to brilliant effect".

 

The Financial Times

 

Jancis Robinson MW has been increasingly impressed with the grape Macabeu which is called Maccabéo in southern France, Macabeo in much of its homeland Spain, and Viura in Rioja, where she explains it is by far the most planted white wine grape.

 

"It has the unusual virtue of being capable of making dry white wines, often blends, with verve and character that improve with age," she says.

 

The good news for fans of Rioja's finest whites, says Robinson, is that, while the 2006, 2007 and 2008 presented challenges for the dominant red wine grape Tempranillo, they were spectacular for Viura.

 

 

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IWC to roll out iPhone application for 2009 winners

Published:  12 January, 2010

The International Wine Challenge has launched an iPhone Application that includes all the medal winners in the 2009 competition.

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Johnnie Walker tests Double Black

Published:  12 January, 2010

A peatier version of Johnnie Walker Black Label is to be tested by Diageo in global travel retail.

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Wine company fined £35,000 for failing to recycle

Published:  11 January, 2010

Great Western Wine has been fined a total £35,000 including costs through the courts for officially failing to recycle its waste packaging.

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Trade stalwart Colin Gurteen dies

Published:  11 January, 2010

The trade is mourning the loss of Colin Gurteen, a well-known wine eductator and pioneer of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

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