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Wines in the Press - December 18-21

Published:  22 December, 2009

The Guardian


Victoria Moore is faced with a row of red Burgundies and a similarly priced line of New Zealand Pinot Noirs.


She says, "if it's true that £10-£25 red Burgundies are horribly likely to disappoint, their New Zealand counterparts increasingly seem to delight". She adds, instead of being patronizingly compared to the likes of Volnay, Beaune or Nuit St George, the region is now admired for its own qualities and quirks.


The most sublime are not in huge supply, says Moore, "but if you are patient and dedicated, they'd make a great Christmas presents. Ideally to yourself ".


Her choices are Hans Pinot Noir 2005 Marlborough (£23, Bottle Apostle) and Clayvin Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005 Marlborough (£26.99, virginwines.com).

 

The Observer


The Atkin family Christmas will have a Spanish flavour this year, for two reasons, says Tim Atkin MW.

Firstly; he's just bought a copy of José Pizarro's wonderful Seasonal Spanish Food (£19.99, Kyle Cathie) and can't wait to cook some of the recipes.


He says the second reason involves a lost bottle of Vega Sicilia Unico 1995, which he informs his stepmother mistakenly used in what turned out to be "a very expensive stew".


His solution has been to purchase Vega's second wine, a Valbuena 2003 (£73.40, Berry Brothers & Rudd). Atkin says, it is quite forward for a Valbuena, but it's still delicious, and is, "broad, smoky and herbal, with ripe flavours of plums and blackberries and very subtle oak".


The Sunday Times


Jane MacQuitty recommends wine stockists to make a festive call to for last minute buys.


She says Berry Bros & Rudd in St James's Street, Central London is good to pick up rare treats such as, Champagne Baron's, Pinot Noir-dominant Brut Réserve (£27.95).


At Marks & Spencer, she reveals there are all sorts of prettily wrapped goodies to take home and her favourite is its, "luscious, raisiny, tealeaf- scented", Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina 1990 (£15 half bottle).


MacQuitty recommends readers head to Waitrose to buy, "the seductive, fat, black pepper-spiced," Saint Joseph, Cave de Saint-Désirat 2007 (down to £8.99).

 

The Telegraph


Susy Atkins is looking at pudding wines. She says some prefer to tackle the classic Christmas pudding head on, with a very rich, amber-coloured dessert wine. "If so, look no further than the fabulous elixir of raisins and chocolate that is," Campbells Rutherglen Muscat, Victoria, Australia (Oddbins, £7.99).



Although she adds that others will have had enough heavy wines. Instead, Atkins recommends a crisp, delicate sweet wine to cut through the sticky dessert such as, Marks & Spencer Asti NV, Alberto Canino, Piedmont, Italy (£6.99).

 

But if you think the whole Christmas pudding thing is too much, says Atkins, then go for a lighter dessert, perhaps a sorbet, or a fruit parfait. In which case she recommends the Concha Y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Maule, Chile (Majestic, £5.99 for 37.5cl)

 

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Howard-Sneyd joins Direct Wines

Published:  22 December, 2009

Justin Howard-Sneyd MW, head of wines at Waitrose, is to join industry rival Direct Wines as its global wine director.

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The UK's best wine lists recognised

Published:  21 December, 2009

Harpers Wine & Spirit today reveals the shortlisted restaurants for our Drinking Out Excellence Awards, the UK's first dedicated gongs for wine lists.

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Mission Possible: the hunt for South Africa's forgotten Chenin Blanc

Published:  21 December, 2009

A quest to find South Africa's oldest Chenin Blanc vines has been resolved.

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Health lobbyists dismiss UK drinking survey

Published:  21 December, 2009

Health campaigners claim official drinks surveys "grossly" underestimate how much wine the nation is drinking on a weekly basis.

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Tesco launches iPhone wine App

Published:  21 December, 2009

Tesco has launched an iPhone visual search application that allows customers to take a picture of a wine label and check whether it is stocked by Tesco Wine by the Case with an option to buy.

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Foster's faces exchange rate hit

Published:  21 December, 2009

The Australian wine group Foster's has warned that business is performing below expectations due to decline in demand for Australian wines and poor currency exchange rates.

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Virgin achieves record-breaking sales

Published:  18 December, 2009

Festive sales has seen Virgin Wines  exceeded all expectations in its 12 Days of Christmas campaign.

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WSTA backs parental guidance

Published:  17 December, 2009

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association has welcomed new guidelines on when parents should introduce children to alcohol.

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Tuscan wine 'illegally blended'

Published:  17 December, 2009

Italian wine producers face a dent to their reputation and an undermining of their appellation system after authorities have discovered that 10m litres of Tuscan wine may have been illegally blended.

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Four in 10 consumers 'spending more on wine'

Published:  17 December, 2009

A survey has found that almost four in 10 wine drinkers will be spending more on wine this Christmas.

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Inverarity Vaults opens Edinburgh branch

Published:  17 December, 2009

Scotland's largest independent wine merchant, Inverarity Vaults, has opened a further new outlet in Edinburgh in addition to its Glasgow branch which opened in 2007.

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Parents warned about underage drinking

Published:  17 December, 2009

England's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson has said that parents who allow their children alcohol could be increasing their chances of becoming binge drinkers later in life.

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Extra time for VAT price updates

Published:  16 December, 2009

Retailers have been given until the end of January to update price labels to take account of the new 17.5% VAT rate.

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Inspirit bags King's Ginger

Published:  16 December, 2009

Inspirit Brands has been appointed by Berry Bros & Rudd to handle the UK distribution of its King's Ginger liqueur.

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Restaurants face bleak new year after bumper Christmas week

Published:  16 December, 2009

 

Restaurants can look forward to their best time of the year next week, but are likely to be hit hard in the new year, according to on-trade research house, Horizons.

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Two MWs shortlisted for book awards

Published:  15 December, 2009

Two Masters of Wine have been shortlisted for the 2009 André Simon Food & Drink Book Awards.

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Bottle Green takes on Goldridge Estate

Published:  15 December, 2009

Leeds based importer Bottle Green Ltd has announced a new partnership with the New Zealand producer Goldridge Estate. 

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Wines in the press - December 11-14

Published:  15 December, 2009

The Guardian

"It's time to get the drinks cupboard ready for Christmas," says Victoria Moore. In her opinion the best pink Champagne is Marguet Rosé Grand Cru 2003 (£23, The Wine Society).

The best house white she suggests is the Saladini Pilastri Falerio 2008 (£6.99, or £5.59 as part of a mixed case, Oddbins) which has the "Sauvignon Blanc zing factor without shouting at you".

For a red she recommends "the excellent 2007 Rhône vintage" and Vignerons Ardechois Le Grand Deves 2007 Côteaux du Tricastin (£6.95, yapp.co.uk).

Finally, best value port she says is Tesco Finest 1994 Vintage Port (£15.99).

 

Observer

Professor Gérard Liger-Belair of the University of Reims proved earlier this year that sparkling wines are uniquely complex and a glass of fizz can contain as much as 30 times more aroma and flavour than the wine itself, reports Tim Atkin MW.

But he warns to be extremely wary of cheap deals, unless they are on brands or supermarket own-labels that you know and trust.

He says, "better still, use my selection of the best 24 Champagnes and sparkling wines, covering everything from a sub-£5 Cava to a £50 vintage Bollinger. There's a fizz for every mood, pocket and occasion here".

tim.atkin@observer.co.uk

 

Sunday Telegraph

Susy Atkins says let's get something straight about the authenticity of food and wine matching tips in this column. Do I actually try each dish with a wide array of wines? "Every time? Yes, yes and yes again".

She professes that recipes are not always made to perfection in her kitchen and admits to being no great cook, but says an approximation of the dish is put together, and many bottles are opened in the quest to find the best for the job.

For the classic Christmas roast turkey she thinks a wine needs to be pretty ripe and full-flavoured like a Chablis or other white Burgundy, a premium red Zinfandel from California, or Australian Shiraz such as Waitrose Barossa Shiraz 2007 Reserve, South Australia (£8.99).

 The Times

Instead of looking at festive wines this week, Jane MaQuitty is recommending gift ideas such as a Port & Stilton duo which consists of a "beautiful, plummy", 2003 Late Bottled Vintage Port from Churchill Graham plus a truckle of the finest Cropwell Bishop Stilton (£25 Tanners).

She says Waitrose's imaginative Christmas collection has a dessert wine and Christmas puddings set that includes two mini puds, plus 50cl of Arnaud de Villeneuve's, "delicious, tangy, orange-scented", l982 Rivesaltes Ambré Hors d'Age (£30).

She adds, "if anyone gave me a bottle of Dom Pérignon's nutty, lime-blossom and honey-scented 2000 Champagne, I would love them for ever". (£105, Waitrose).

 

 

The Independent

Anthony Rose asks how Aussie wines have gone "from heroes to zeros in the twinkling of an eye?"

He says, it's hard to put your finger on any one particular reason, but it was almost inevitable that brand Australia couldn't continue its remarkable growth.

Most of what finds its way on to retailers' shelves in the UK tends to be at the cheaper, duller, branded end of the spectrum, explains Rose, which he adds, is aggravated by supermarket promotions. But he points out that, "at least Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Majestic and Oddbins are attempting to buck the trend".

He gives an example of the "refreshingly dry, lime-zesty", Paulett's Polish Hill River Riesling 2008 (£9.99, Majestic).

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AFW extends Sommelier of the Year Competition

Published:  14 December, 2009

The Academy of Food & Wine has extended the deadline for the 2010 UK Sommelier of the Year competition to December 31.

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