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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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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Victoria Moore says canny knowledge of the big wine brands has saved her bacon on more than one occasion. "A bit of brand savvy can make the difference between paying through the nose for wine you realise too late you'd prefer not to drink, and a glass of something quite good actually." Villa Maria is one such label that has often acted as her white knight, she says. Others tips include the 2005 Jacob's Creek Riesling Steingarten (13.19, Tesco) and the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Casillero del Diablo (4.49, Sainsbury's). "Easily dismissed by wine snobs, not all brands should be written off," Moore concludes emphatically.

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jonathan Ray has been visiting a French vigneron who set up shop in Mendoza, Argentina. The move makes sense, says the Telegraph critic, because Mendoza is fast becoming the "spiritual home" of the Malbec grape variety. His choices this week include the 2006 Viognier LuLu-V Hewitson (8.95, Berry Bros & Rudd) which is "silkily scrumptious, full of the expected peach, apricot and guava aromas" that come with a true Viognier.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jancis Robinson MW is on the topic of Riesling this week. Interestingly, she says the average Bordeaux 2007 "played nicely into the hands of those growing Riesling on the banks of the Mosel and the Rhine". This is because the weather pattern that scuppered the French helped the growth of Germany's favourite varietal. The good news is that these great wines should not simply collect dust. "The 2007s are - glory be - wines to enjoy drinking rather than wines to notch up ripeness and auction records," she enthuses.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Chile is the talking point for Jancis Robinson MW as she notes "the vineyards of the long thin countryhave been extending south in recent years". But this is less in response to climate change and "more because Chilean winemakers have been seeking cooler climates in which to grow a wider range of grape varieties," she adds. Aromatic Rieslings and Gewurztraminers have been the stars here, Robinson feels. Particular mention goes to the 2007 Riesling Concha Y Toro Winemaker's Lot 158 (6.99, widely available).

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

"I would be lying if I said I had nothing against Italian Pinot Grigio," admits Joanna Simon. However, you'll be pleased to know the Sunday Times critic has "better things to do than rant about a dreary wine". This is partly because there are many more impressive, if lesser-known, Italian varieties on which to focus, she continues. Among these are grapes such as Arneis, Fiano, Falaghina, Grechetto, Favorita and Peccorino. Continuing in this vein, Simon recommends the 2007 Fiano Finest (6.13, Tesco) for its "floral aromas" and the 2007 Roero Arneis Marco Porello (9.99, Majestic) which is "lively and lingering with sappy pear and apple flavours".

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

"The best 2004s [Barolo] are so good I wanted to break into song," raves Tim Atkin MW. However, the Observer critic is not stopping there. "This is the greatest vintage I have ever tasted, more approachable than the almost as impressive 2001s, and just as complex, nuanced and perfumed." Consumers wishing to share Atkin's excitement should opt for the "silky scented" 2004 Barolo Serralunga, Paolo Manzone (21.75, Adnams) or the "stylish, sweetly-oaked" 2004 Barolo Massolino (30.49, Liberty Wines).

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Susy Atkins is thinking outside the bag-in-box this week with her analysis of pairing wine with Asian salads. Her first tip is to stay away from the cold lager usually drunk with Asian cuisine as "wines work so much better when you've got a fresh dish that lines up, say, chicken with salad leaves, peas, chilli and lime juice". The "unusual" 2006/07 Rueda Cuatro Rayas Verdejo (6.49, M&S) is mentioned for its "dry, snappy edge" making it great with salads.

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Ballsy New World producers looking to make their name tend to stage blind tastings and pit their wines against the established Old World names, reveals Joanna Simon. "You have nothing to lose," she explains as they either make their reputation or become simply "a work in progress". One man who had this approach down to a tee was the late, great Robert Mondavi, Simon adds. The 2007 Chilean Sauvignon (6.99, Sainsbury's TTD) made it into her cellar notes this week for its "vivid herby, gooseberry fruit".

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Victoria Moore's brief this week? To find some sub-10 Loire Sauvignon Blanc alternatives and rivals "that, while not cheap, may offer better value than a similarly priced Sancerre". Her choices? She ran with a 2006 Quincy Domaine de la Pierre (8.99, Waitrose), which is "ideal for those who don't like a sense of fruitiness to interefere and want something to sip as an apertif". Moore also recommends the "unexpected" 2006 Touraine Domaine des Trois Demoiselles (7.50, Berry Bros & Rudd) with a "gravity you wouldn't expect in something as simple as Sauvignon Blanc".

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Victoria Moore hits upon the touchy subject of Pinot Grigio this week. Despite gargantuan sales year-on-year she admits "to some wine buffs it is virtually the anti-wine: indistinct, uninteresting, bland". However, the first wine Moore enjoyed was a Veneto Pinot Grigio whilst eating a bacon, avocado and gruyre salad and for this reason it will also hold a place in her heart. Her top scoring wines are the 2007 Pinot Grigio Friuli (7.99, M&S) and the 2007 Pinot Grigio Neszmly, Hungary (4.79, M&S), which is a "miracle" for under a fiver.

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jamie Goode has been gifted a double page spread in the Express this week, no less than he deserves for a round-up of the best red wines on the market. A recommendation for the thrifty is the "utterly delicious" 2007 Garnacha Red Gran Tesoro (2.99, Tesco). If you are looking to the next price bracket, the 2006 Piedra Azul, Toro (7.95, Berry Bros & Rudd) is worth investigating. For those flush souls who want to blow the budget, he picks out the 2001 Hermitage Jean-Louis Chave Rouge (120, Yapp Brothers), which is "worth every penny of its astronomical price tag".

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Tim Atkin MW touches on the subject of black-owned vineyards in South Africa, or lack thereof. "Many of the black workers who toil in the vineyards and wineries of the largely white-owned, white run wine industry come from [South Africa's] townships." But thanks to the ANC's policy of land reform and black economic empowerment (BEE) things are changing, Atkin adds. Labels to look out for include Thandi, M'Hudi, Seven Sisters, Lindiwe and Bouwland among others. The 2007 Cabernet/Shiraz Fairhills (5.19, Tesco) is mentioned for its smooth, spicy, sweetly oaked" notes and the 2006 Cinsault/Merlot Origin (6.99, Threshers) also gets a mention. Atkin admits "buying one of these wines won't change the South African wine industry overnight, but it's a start."

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

"The most incredible thing to put in your mouth between gulps of crisp Loire Sauvignon Blanc is Crottin de Chavignol, the local goat's cheese," says Victoria Moore. The topic is, of course, Sancerre and she has plenty of recommendations. The 2007 Sancerre Les Ruettes (10.99, Marks & Spencer) "has a swell of green reminiscent of undulating fields in June" while the 2007 Sancerre Domaine Vacheron (14.99, Majestic) "does not disappoint". One final word of warning from Moore though, "Sancerre isn't cheap, and cheap Sancerre isn't worth it".

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Tim Atkin MW recounts one of his favourite German wine stories in his weekly column. It occurred at Vinopolis' London opening while a smattering of journalists were shown around with accompanying headsets and commentary. One writer nipped to the pristine new toilets for a piddle only to hear "Welcome to Wines of Germany" ringing in his ears. Much has changed since then, says Atkin, and Riesling in particular has led the renaissance recently. He recommends the 2006 Dartling Estate Riesling (6.99, Marks & Spencer), the 2007 Spy Valley Riesling Malborough (7.99, Bibendum) and the "lime-scented" 2007 Tingleup Great Southern Riesling (5.99, Tesco).

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Which wines pair well with Italian pasta dishes, asks Susy Atkins this week. Valpolicella, Dolcetto and Barbera are all a "clever choice" for the classic combination of tomato sauce and chorizo, she feels. A chilled Pinot Grigio or Pinot Blanco goes well with creamy fettucine, Atkins adds, but it needn't be expensive, as "no one spends a fortune on a wine to go with an easy pasta supper". Among her wines of the week is the 2007 Gavi, Italy (6.99, Sainsbury's), which is "excellent" with a rich tomato sauce.

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

"There's a general perception that fish is easy to match with wine," says Susy Atkins but her terrible pairing of mackerel and Viognier last week put paid to this assertion. Her recommendations for matching the two include the 2006/07 Cabernet Sauvignon Ros Santa Rita (6.24, Majestic) which is "a succulent wine for a fishy barbecue, especially with sardines and salad or the 2007 Muscadet Sevre et Maine (4.99, M&S) which is "versatile with all oily fish, and seafood".

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Whenever Joanna Simon finds herself explaining Ctes du Rhne to someone she wonders, "which of us will fall asleep first?" She ploughs on regardless, however, as "understanding the hierarchy of the southern Rhne appellations contrles (AOCs) opens the door to some of France's best-value reds". The 2006 Ctes du Rhne-Villages (5.99, Sainsbury's TTD) features for "spiced-raspberry fruit and soft, savoury tannin".

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