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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Sauvignon Blanc "rarely improves with age, so almost all should be drunk young," says Joanna Simon. For her this is one of the main attractions, she adds, but this is not the case amongst her UK sommelier friends. Regardless of their views, Simon selects a few of her current favourites. The 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Clos Henri (14.40, Les Caves de Pyrne) has a "smoky, gooseberry intensity" with potential to age while the 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Iona (9.99, Waitrose) has "exceptionally pure fruit".

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

"The South African wine industry is aware there is a problem, even if it's not very good at detecting it," says Anthony Rose. He is referring to a recent industry talking point concerning an "unpleasant off-odour and taste in some bottles" of South African wine. Described variously as burnt rubber, rhubarb or sun-dried tomato, Rose states the problem is not a new one. A British MW trip to the Cape in 1976 "set the Pinotage cause back by years" when they discovered a rusty nails smell to the wines, he reveals. It's not all bad news though as the issue is being looked into, Rose assures us, while he praises the region on its progress over the last decade. "It's heartwarming to see that a new generation of savvy winemakers has expanded the frontiers of wine to select the right match between location and grape variety."

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Given the paucity of talent when it came to last summer's Tetrapack and PET wine offerings "[it's] no wonder discerning festival-goers took to decanting their best outdoor swigs into plastic bottles," says Jane MacQuitty. All is not lost this summer, however, with some eco-friendly options getting her thumbs up. La Baume's one-litre pouches for Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc (7.49, Waitrose) come most highly recommended. MacQuitty rounds off with the ultimate compliment for alternative packaging. "Even the notoriously traditional French, who so hate screwcaps, have embraced wine cartons with gusto," she concludes.

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Recent UK market research has found British consumers to consider German wines "cheap, sweet and basic". Anthony Rose admits it's "tough for German wine to extricate itself from the mire" but thankfully "the quality of its trump card, estate-produced Riesling, has never been better". Good vintages could be seen in 2003 and 2005 but it is 2007 that is "producing wines of great purity, balance and class". For this year, Rose recommends consumers should investigate dry styles from Leitz and Knstler in the Rheingau, Karthuserhof in the Mosel, Wittmann in the Rheinhessen, Mller-Catoir and Brklin Wolf and von Buhl in the Rheinpfalz.

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

If we sideline Jane MacQuitty's rant about the stratospheric prices for the "mediocre" 2007 Bordeaux vintage, there remain some interesting recommendations this week. The 2006 Malbec Alamos (5.24, Bibendum) is a "tasty, top dog Argentinian red" while the 2004 Burgundy Meursault Jean-Marc Bouzereau (19.99, selected Tesco stores) is "complete with lots of burnt, buttered toast flavours on the finish".

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

"The easiest way to destroy your enjoyment of a red wine is to drink it at the wrong temperature," warns Victoria Moore. Her personal sticking point is reds being served too hot, something which should be clearly apparent "if the wine tastes soupy, seems not to have a defined shape or rushes up your nostrils like the haze that evaporates from a pan of stewing fruit". As such, Moore has chosen several reds, which benefit from a spot of light chilling. The 2007 Nerello Mascalese (4.99, M&S) needs to be drunk with food "but the clearest flavour is the classic Italian one of cherries". Italy's Valpolicella NV (3.18, Sainsbury's) is light in alcohol and thus "ideal for a lunchtime glass".

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

With the Chelsea Flower Show underway this week, Susy Atkins is weighing up which wines have the most detectable floral hints. Gewrztraminer is the obvious first choice, she says, with its "distinctive rose-petal fragrance" but there are also other varieties with garden scents. "German Rieslings lean towards a light, generally flowery whiff, while French Viogniers sock it to you with a heady perfume," Atkins explains. The 2007 Torrontes La Esperanza Estate (5.99, Marks & Spencer) is mentioned for its notes of "orange-blossom, roses and lychees" while the 2006/07 Viognier Yalumba Organic (5.99, Waitrose) features for its "honeysuckle and white blossom".

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

It's picnic season and Susy Atkins is concentrating on the important topic of which wines should populate your hamper. "A summer picnic is meant to be relaxing, refreshing, easy - so avoid heavy, powerful wines," she advises. Instead, opt for fresh fruity flavours, crisp acidity and a smooth texture - probably a screwcap - and more importantly, nothing too expensive. "I'm after wines that don't cost a fortune - it's plain pretentious to crack open fine wine when sitting on a rug in a field," Atkins quips. She recommends the "refreshing" 2007 Pinot Grigio Palataia (6.99, M&S) and the "easy-drinking" 2006 Pinotage Fairtrade (5.15, Sainsbury's).

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jamie Goode's weekly column seems particularly timely given Rafa Nadal's epic win in this year's Wimbledon final. "If tapas is on the menu, there's no reason to look any further than Spain for your drinks," he says. Instead, we should pursue the "mouthwateringly diverse" range of wines the country now produces. Examples include the "very tasty" 2007 Rioja Faustino V Rosado (8.49, Thresher) and the 2006 Menca Bierzo The Pilgrimage (7.19, Tesco), with its "hint of roast coffee and a nice spicy bite on the finish".

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

It is the first year that white grapes have been outlawed from the "quintessential" Tuscan wine Chianti Classico and this is a reason to celebrate, says Jancis Robinson MW. "The great majority of white wine grapes that used to go in Chianti, blanching its colour and diluting its flavour, were the most basic sort of Trebbiano," she adds. This week's recommendations are broken down into two categories, those recommended 2006s and superior 2005s. Badia a Coltibuono and Villa Calcinaia, both from 2006, are highlighted for their "lively style" as is the 2005 Castello di Ama.

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Despite the government's best efforts, the UK is a glorious home for wine drinkers, says Jonathan Ray. "The range of wine available in Britain is finer than anywhere else in the world," he raves. This is regardless of the "bird brained chancellor and health police" determined to stop his fun. Ray concludes: "When will someone in authority stand up and say that wine is positively good for us?"

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Avoid second cheapest syndrome when it comes to selecting wine in restaurants, urges Joanna Simon, as it is "invariably a poor-value plant for the unwary". Making the choice when dining out is something both men and women dread, she continues, although the latter group do so quietly. There are tricks, however, to ease the experience. "Take your time," Simon pleads, before advising us to "venture off piste" in the choice and - most importantly of all - "stand your ground" should it taste unpleasant or mouldy. As for her own selections this week, she plums for the 2005 Lirac, Domaine du Joncier (Waitrose, 5.99), the "zesty and grassy" 2006 Cheverny, Le Vieux Clos (Majestic, 6.49) and the "nutty" 2005 Fiano di Avellino, Guido Marsella (Burgundy Wines, 12.50).

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

"American ros is very popular with British consumers, for whom life seems just that little bit sweeter when a dollop of sugar helps the medicine slip down," observes Anthony Rose. The key to enjoying the much-improved selection of ros currently on the market revolves around honing in on the drier varieties, he adds. In this vein, this week's recommendations include the 2007 Prendina Estate Ros Cavalchina (7.99, M&S) with its "fresh berry fragrance" and the 2007 Champteloup Selection Ros d'Anjou (4.99, Waitrose), which has a "juicy strawberry and bubblegum off-dry style".

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Victoria Moore thought the traditional booze cruise was dead, that was until she discovered family owned outfit Calais-Vins. The business has been operational for six years and in discovering it she has managed to put to bed "a deeply unsatisfying trip [to Calais] last Christmas" where she ended up paying through the teeth for claret. All her weekly recommendations are available though her new discovery (www.calais-vins.com). The 2002 Haut-Mdoc Chteau Lamothe-Cissac (9.20) is a "classic Cabernet Sauvignon-based claret, with a leafy, refreshing edge". Moore also flags up the Crmant de Bourgogne Charles Roux Brut NV (7.14) as "perfect for summer parties".

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

The great British summer is upon and thus we must promptly dust off our BBQ implements and set about cremating sausages post-haste. But what wine should we enjoy for the occasion, asks Susy Atkins this week. Serving Aussie wines at a BBQ is something of a cultural clich, she adds, so "it's worth looking further afield". In this instance, Atkins opts for Old World "to buck the New World trend". Her selections include the 2006 Les Collines du Paradis Minervois (7.99, Tesco) and the "gutsy" 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon La Baume Supreme (5.99, Sainsbury's).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jane MacQuitty is in a solemn mood. "It's just not going to be Australia's year," she sympathises. "Alas, there are lots more dire Aussie 07s and 08s in the pipeline," MacQuitty feels, adding the recent price increases may well put consumers off. As always, the critic has delved among the current offerings to find the best, in both price and taste, that Australia has to offer. She recommends the 2007 Verdot-Shiraz Ros Gnarly Petit (6.99, Waitrose) from Southern Australia for its "wonderful ripe, sweet, perfumed peppery" flavours. The 2006 Shiraz-Cabernet Andrew Peace Limited Release (4.49, Co-op) merits a mention for its "jammy, briary 14% alcohol spice," although it does need to be paired with a "big food to show it at its best".

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Chardonnay has been coming under a bit of flack recently what with the Bridget Jones connotations and the well-known Anything But Chardonnay (ABC) movement, says Anthony Rose. "It would be doing Chardonnay a disservice," to overlook it though given that it's "responsible for the greatest diversity of styles and range of qualities of any white wine variety". France is a good starting point with many "moreish examples", Rose says, but venture further abroad if you're feeling adventurous. He mentions the 2006 Chardonnay Pierro (28.50, Jeroboams) from Margaret River and the 2007 Chardonnay Lone Ranger Heretaunga (9.99, M&S) from New Zealand.

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

"One of the most striking features of ros is that our consumption of it is no longer purely seasonal," says Joanna Simon. The craze began in the heatwave of 2003, she explains, but an image makeover and soaring choice and quality have helped to cement its position. A final word of warning from Simon though: "At least half the market is cheap, sweet California brands."

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Victoria Moore was recently struck by how rarely the "classic grape" Cabernet Sauvignon is appreciated. "Well, it's to get over that," she pleads, as "there are some very good examples around". The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra (7.99, Sainsbury's) should be drunk with a rib-eye steak and possesses "a profound sense of place, gravelly authority and intellectual mass". Moore also selects a Cab Sav blend, the 2005 Haut Mdoc Chteau Cambon La Pelouse (17.99, Waitrose) which gets brownie points for pressing "all the ah, Bordeaux' buttons".

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

"What I really want to know is which sparkler to quaff this summer?" mulls Susy Atkins. It is a question we should all ask ourselves, she urges, as "affordable fizz" for summer parties is essential and "there are plenty that don't measure up". Supermarkets options while "not the most stylish proposition" certainly seem to come out on top when fitting the brief. Top prize goes to the Sparkling Pinotage Ros First Cape (7.99, Sainsbury's), which "looks commercial but tastes fab".

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