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Tesco has poor Christmas

Published:  14 January, 2009

Tesco has reported its worst Christmas sales performance since the last recesssion, as the discounters continue to make gains in the UK market.

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uggga ugga

Published:  13 January, 2009

With wine and spirits activity slowing to its seasonal drip, it looks like there is no escape from the recession for the industry. But it is not the reduced activity, which is likely to have an adverse impact on smaller companies.

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Constellation dumps value spirits brands

Published:  13 January, 2009

Constellation Brands is selling its value spirits business to New Orleans-based Sazerac for $334 million.

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Wines in the Press, January 10-11

Published:  13 January, 2009

The Observer

For the best, and most reliable Pinot Noirs, look to New Zealand rather than Burgundy, says Tim Atkin. "As every self respecting Pinotphile knows, when red Burgundy is good, it is unbeatable. The opposite, alas is also true. When red Burgundy is bad, it is unpalatable," he declares.

 

While other countries including South Africa and the US make good Pinot Noirs, only New Zealand can compete with Burgundy at every level. And Atkins points out that other countries should be concerned, as three quarters of New Zealand's Pinot vineyards are less than eight years old and when those vines mature, the wines are only going to improve further.

 

He recommends the "sweetly oaked, finely wrought" 2007 Resolute Pinot Noir, Winegrowers of Ara, Marlborough, (£15.99 each for two, Majestic); the "complex, restrained" 2007 Blind River Pinot Noir, Marlborough (£15.99, Waitrose); and the multi-award winning 2006 Wild Earth Pinot Noir, Central Otago (£17.99, Liberty Wines).

 

The Times

Cash strapped wine drinkers on the lookout for some bargains should turn to offerings from Spain and Portugal, which produce some "terrific" sources of both sub- £6 reds, and increasingly whites, says Jane MacQuitty.

 

What they lack in popularity, they more than make up for in flavour, she claims. Spain's cheaper, often Tempranillo-grape-based reds and whites made from the airen grape are both worthy of a punt, while the Douro is the place to focus on in Portugal. Italy too, has some good reds below the £6 price bracket, particularly from Sicily and the south.

 

While Australia is finding it tricky competing at this level, Chile with its cabernet and carmenre, and Argentina with malbec and torrontes can offer some great wines at this price. France too, can be a source of cheaper wines, particularly Gascony and the Languedoc. Two of MacQuitty's recommendations include the 2008 Palo Alto Sauvignon Reserva, and the 2007 Alto Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenere-Syrah, (both down to £3.99 till Feb 10, Sainsburys).


The Guardian

Victoria Moore interviews Oddbins' new proprietor Simon Baile, and finds out about the changes he's introduced since he acquired the company last summer. After already ditching around 600 of the existing 2,000 stock lines which he inherited, he is already planning another cull, including the Oddbins Selection range, which Moore condemns as "dreary" and epitomizing "everything that had gone wrong with the chain".

 

Buyers are now being given the freedom to go out and buy what they like, and not just a couple of parcels a month; even if they can only source 900 bottles, Baile says he will put that wine into ten stores.

 

"I want the excitement factor; a sense of discovery" he says. So far Baile's team have focused their energies on France, a country which has contributed around 65 of some 80 new wines. Moore liked the "warm, bright" Capucine Vin de Pays de L' Aude 2007 (£6.99 or £5.59 as part of a mixed case), and the 2007 Chateau Malardeau Sauvignon Blanc Cote de Duras (£7.49 or £5,99 in a mixed case).

 

The Sunday Times

The upside of last year's cool damp summer has been lower alcohol wines from the less ripe, less sugar-rich grapes. This may not have been considered a benefit a few years ago says Joanna Simon, but recently there has been a bit of a backlash against heavy, alcohol-laden wines.

 

Whether that is because of consumers' growing health concerns or simply a desire for fresher, more balanced tasting wines remains to be seen, but producers had already started to look at ways of reducing the alcohol content by managing their vineyards differently. Some of these resulting wines that Simon likes includes the 12% abv 2006 Salwey Oberrotweiler Kasleberg Spatburgunder, (£11.60, Tanners) and the 2006 Ferngrove Riesling, also 12% abv, (£7.49, Oddbins).


The Independent

The wines originally made by the Marquis della Rochetta in the 1940's in Bolgheri, southern Tuscany, were initially derided as "filth", according to Anthony Rose. However, Sassicai, grown from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, has since gained a fine reputation worldwide.

 

Some of the most promising include the "spicy and succulently fruity" 2006 Insoglio del Cinghiale Toscana, (£14.99 - £17.50, Philglas & Swiggot, D Byrne, Portland Wine Cellars); and the "black olive, spicy, liquorice and bittersweet dark chocolatey" 2004 Piemonte Angelo Gaja Ca'Marcanda, (£62.65, Armit).

 

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson interviews Peter Max Sichel, the man responsible for bringing Blue Nun to the masses in the early 1960's. This new generation of wine drinkers in both the US and UK loved the medium dry German blends that Blue Nun spawned, but by the early 1980's sales had started to slow as consumers became more sophisticated in their tastes.

 

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Wetherspoons boss's warning over pub debts

Published:  12 January, 2009

Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin has warned that private equity-owned pubcos are too burdened with debt to invest in their struggling estates.


Martin said that this debt, along with overzealous regulation, was "running down" the institution that is the British pub.


He added: "A number of private equity- owned pub companies, which are actually making huge losses after [paying] interest . . . are going to have financial problems - that's going to be the dominant headline for the next two years.


"Landlords have been paying too much rent and are unable to provide service and prices that are attractive enough to customers."

 

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Letter January 9

Published:  12 January, 2009

There's a silver lining to every cloud, or so the saying goes. This new year, in my opinion, is going to be a fantastic year for those with burnt thumbs from unfriendly, 'human driven' and down trodden stocks and shares to diversify their investment portfolios (i.e. spread their risk) and stick some of their hard earned money into one of the oldest investment asset classes - fine wine.

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Bullish Christmas sales a boost to the industry

Published:  09 January, 2009

Wine retailers are bullish about their Christmas sales, with early indications suggesting that a late surge may have compensated for a sluggish start to the festive period, according to a report in today's issue of  Harpers.

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Mount and Paul set up consultancy business

Published:  09 January, 2009

Former Western Wines boss Mike Paul and Somerfield wine supremo Angela Mount have joined forces to form a new wine business consultancy.

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Constellation's European sales take a hit

Published:  09 January, 2009

Constellation has admitted that branded wine sales in Europe fell by 11% in its third financial quarter.

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Divine Proportion

Published:  09 January, 2009

Since the Renaissance, many artists and architects have proportioned their works to approximate the golden ratio - especially in the form of the golden rectangle, in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the golden ratio. The rationale behind it is the belief that this proportion is organic, universal, harmonic and aesthetically pleasing. Indeed, being evident everywhere in the universe (in fact, many things around us can be expressed in this ratio), divine proportion (which is also called Golden ratio, divine section, golden cut and mean of Phidias) is probably the most known law of proportion which can dramatically improve the communication of your design.

As Mark Boulton states in his article Design and the Divine Proportion, "one of the key components in the vehicle of communication is composition, and in design schooling it is something that is taught as something you should feel rather than create logically." Hence, to comfort your visitors with a pleasing and intuitive composition it is often worth considering the Golden ratio. So what exactly is Golden ratio? Basically, it is a proportion 1.618033988749895 ? 1.618 which holds between objects placed within some context.

Since the Renaissance, many artists and architects have proportioned their works to approximate the golden ratio - especially in the form of the golden rectangle, in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the golden ratio. The rationale behind it is the belief that this proportion is organic, universal, harmonic and aesthetically pleasing. Indeed, being evident everywhere in the universe (in fact, many things around us can be expressed in this ratio), divine proportion (which is also called Golden ratio, divine section, golden cut and mean of Phidias) is probably the most known law of proportion which can dramatically improve the communication of your design.

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Weak pound buoys UK's fine wine auction market

Published:  08 January, 2009

Auctions of fine and rare wines in the UK are bucking a global downward trend as international buyers move their trading to London to take advantage of the weak pound. 

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M&S to axe jobs and close stores

Published:  07 January, 2009

Marks & Spencer is on a mission to cut costs after unveiling group sales down 1.2% in the 13 weeks to December 27.

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Tesco accused over cut price drink offers

Published:  06 January, 2009

Tesco is reported to be facing two official investigations over the way it has been running recent discounted drink offers.

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Tesco accused over cut price drink offers

Published:  06 January, 2009

Tesco is reported to be facing two official investigations over the way it has been running recent discounted drink offers.

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Morrisons offers New Year bargains

Published:  05 January, 2009

Morrisons is entering the New Year with a range of discounts on branded wines.

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Wines in the Press January 3-4, 2009

Published:  05 January, 2009

Tim's looking for less alcohol, Jancis discovers some pleasant surprises in the southern Rhone, while Anthony and Jane find it difficult to believe that expensive wines will move very quickly in 2009

 

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Pubs offer pints for £1 and wine for £5 a bottle

Published:  04 January, 2009

Pub chains are responding to the recession by offering massive discounts on new year drinks prices, including beer for 99p a pint, bottles of wine for £4.99 and main meals for £1 a dish.

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Wines in the Press, December 20-21

Published:  03 January, 2009

Jancis gets busy with the fizzy, Jane finds unsold bargains, Anthony highlights independents in the Independent and Joanna experiments with a magic wand

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Foster's may have to stick with wine

Published:  19 December, 2008

The global credit crunch may force Foster's to abandon any hopes to offload its wine division in 2009, analysts say.

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Beastly marketing drive kicks off

Published:  18 December, 2008

Languedoc Roussillon brand Le Beast has caused a stir in France after challenging the French minister responsible for the internet with a wolf glove puppet at a conference in Paris.

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