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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

'The Aube is the hidden gem of Champagne,' says ANTHONY ROSE. He acknowledges the difficulties of being a late arrival in this famous appellation (the Aube wasn't made an official part of Champagne until 1927), saying: 'Nearly a century on, a sniffy, de-haut-en-bas attitude from Champagne's heartland of Reims and Epernay prevails.' But he happily defends the Aube and points out the inconsistency of the doubters, saying: 'Some three quarters of all the Aube's grapes end up an hour's drive north in brands as renowned as Mot, Lanson, Veuve Clicquot, Laurent Perrier and Billecart-Salmon.' His recommendations include Andr et Michel Drappier Brut Nature (19.99; Anthony Byrne Fine Wines) and Fleary Brut (21.99; Waitrose).

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

VICTORIA MOORE ditches her usual, conversational-style column and replaces it with a series of food/wine matches. For Angela Hartnett's crostini, she recommends 2004 Torresoto (4.99; M&S), 'a lovely ros from Rioja with a truly hideous Barbie pink and ochre label'; for a chilled courgette soup with garlic and yoghurt, she opts for 2003 Teroldego Rotaliano Endrizzi (7.99; Adnams), 'a red with summery, berry flavours and a charming, country feel'; while for fricassee of Scottish girolles with Parmesan, Moore pushes the boat out with 2000 Ettore Germano Barolo (31.95; Uncorked, italianwinesdirect.com, Thameside Wines), which is 'hauntingly beautiful'.

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The Daily Mail

Published:  23 July, 2008

MATTHEW JUKES raves about Riesling this week and provides his own choice of five, ranging from the driest 2004 Felton Road Dry Riesling, Central Otago (12.70; Jeroboams & Layton's of London) through to the most 'luscious and juicy, but not sweet' 2004 Dragonstone Riesling, Rdesheimer, Drachenstein, Josef Leitz, Rheingau (7.59; Oddbins, 7.34; Weavers of Nottingham).

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JOANNA SIMON comments on the wisdom, or otherwise, of including the term 'old vines' on wine labels. 'Unless you are in the know, the term probably has about the same level of appeal as old socks'. Conversely, she points out that 'growers are right to draw attention to the age of their vineyards, because vines produce grapes of increasingly fine quality the older they get.' She recommends three good-value, old-vine red wines from Spain, including 2003 Casa de las Ermita Monastrell, Jumilla (6.69; Oddbins).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

TIM ATKIN MW puts his wine column to one side this week

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

'The rockocracy is moving into wine,' reports JONATHAN RAY. And some of it might actually be quite good. Cliff Richard's Vida Nova from the Algarve was apparently too successful for Tesco, which has declined to stock the current vintage 'not because it is no good, but because the winery can't produce enough to satisfy the supermarket's demands'. Although, speaking to Bruce Cohn of the Doobie Brothers, Ray sees the downside of this hobby for the rockers. Cohn says, 'The great tragedy is that half the band haven't tasted [their wines] and never will. They drink only Perrier now, thanks to their past excesses.' Ray looks forward to a Chteau Oasis in the future.

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

'Long live the gang of 12,' announces JANE MacQUITTY. She is referring, of course, to the association of New Zealand winegrowers covering every major region and all the main grape varieties. 'Some commentators have grumbled about the elitism of the 12, whose wines are mostly priced around 925 a bottle, but provided the wines deliver great value for money at these prices, and most of them do, I cannot see what the problem is.' Her favourites include 2004 Te Arai Vineyard Chenin Blanc (8.99; Vintage Roots), which displays 'soft, spritzy, peach, pineapple and citrus-layered fruit'; 2004 Lawson's Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc (Lay & Wheeler; 8.95), spicy, gooseberry, nettle and fresh lime delight'; and the same winery's 'gorgeous rose and lychee-charged' 2004 Gewurztraminer (Lay & Wheeler; 9.95).

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

GILES KIME goes where few wine writers dare to tread and matches wines with chocolate. For orange-flavoured chocolate, he recommends Henriques

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The Independent On Sunday

Published:  23 July, 2008

A trio of picks from RICHARD EHRLICH. First up is 2003 Stella Bella Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc (40.79 for six bottles, down from 51.24; Sainsbury's), a 'great wine with Riesling-like lime intensity. A steal.' Next is 2004 Terre da Vino Roero Arneis (5.99, or 5.09 each when two are bought; Majestic), 'a fresh, citrussy and nutty white from a distinguished producer of Barolo'. His final choice is for 2004 Dourthe No.1 Sauvignon Blanc (4.99; Waitrose).

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

VICTORIA MOORE chooses a brace of white Burgundies. The first, 2002 Domaine des Chazelles Vir-Cless Cuve Vieilles Vignes (10.75; Stone, Vine & Sun), 'smells of honeyed blossom and has an opulent mouthfeel with a fresh acidity'. The second, 2004 Mcon-Fuiss Vieilles Vignes (10.99; Majestic), is, Moore adds curiously, 'more leonine in nature'.

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

There's a plea from JOANNA SIMON for us Brits to get stuck into Spanish ross. And while ros sales in the UK are soaring (one in every 20 bottles sold in the off-trade is a ros double the figure in the late 1990s), the Spanish drink far more. Simon's favourites include 2004 Torresoto Ros (4.99; M&S), 2004 Otto Bestu (6.95; Great Western Wines) and 2004 Vineyard X Garnacha Ros (3.49, or 2.33 each when three are bought; Thresher).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Turn up unannounced at any of the world's great wineries and, more often than not, as a friend of TIM ATKIN MW can testify, you will be greeted with a polite 'Non, Monsieur'. Atkin understands their point: 'If the likes of Ptrus, Vega Sicilia or Domaine de la Romane-Conti gave tastings to every passing wine lover, they'd run out of booze in weeks.'

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

JONATHAN RAY rekindles his childhood with a visit to Jim Blanchard's hop farm in Oxfordshire. Ray grew up in a house surrounded by hop gardens, and he learns that there is an emerging trend towards single-hop-variety beers. Beer Academy director Rupert Ponsonby tells him that Goldings hops are 'akin to Chardonnay from Chablis, being light, austere, citrussy and delicate', while the Fuggle is 'earthy and spicy like a Rhne Syrah'. Challenger and Northdown offer 'crisp, clean, lime flavours', like Loire Sauvignon, while First Gold is similar to Viognier.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

The golden triangle of Western Cape wine areas (Stellenbosch, Paarl and Constantia) is increasing all the time, writes ANDREW JEFFORD. Areas such as Elim and Darling are emerging as good cool-climate spots, while Swartland, with its 'tempered warmth', is suitable for Rhne varieties. His recommendations include 2004 Chenin Blanc, Tierhoek, Piekenerskloof (9.95; The Wine Society); 2004 Sauvignon Blanc, Groote Post, Darling Hills (8.49; Handford of Holland, www.sawinesonline.co.uk); and 2002 Fairview Jakkalsfontein Shiraz (13.54; Liberty Wines).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Spirits companies are wise to the fact that whisky sales are on the slide, but two efforts to modernise the category are met with disdain by JANE MacQUITTY: 'Trying to pass off whisky as an entirely different spirit, hoping to woo a new young audience, is a daft idea and bound to end in tears.'

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

GILES KIME's favourite sparkling ross include Tesco (14.99), Billecart-Salmon (34.95; Berry Bros & Rudd) and Krug (160; Harrods).

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

JAMIE GOODE's selection includes 2002 Herrick Syrah (5.19; Budgen, Waitrose), 2004 Devil's Rock Pinot Grigio (4.79; Waitrose, Somerfield) and 2004 Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio (7.99; Majestic).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JANCIS ROBINSON MW considers ever-increasing alcohol levels. 'I remember red Bordeaux with labels stating 10.5 and 11% alcohol unashamedly, but nowadays percentages of less than 13 are becoming a rarity, even in the temperate climate of Bordeaux,' she says. Indeed, in a desperate effort to get his name in the pages of Private Eye, Santa Barbara winemaker Bob Lindquist recently proclaimed that '15 is the new 14'. Robinson adds that a study of average alcohol levels in Napa Valley Cabernets shows that in the early 1970s the wines averaged about 13%, while in 2001 the average was 15.1%. That's the average. And with an EU ruling preventing 15+% wines being imported, unless a bilateral wine agreement has been enacted, as in the case of Chile and South Africa, those wines will never reach UK shores.

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JOANNA SIMON says we are surprisingly wary of sweet wines: 'Blame it on residual snobbery and fear of appearing naff'. She recommends 2001 Chteau Dauphin Rondillon Cuve d'Or (7.95/375ml; Vine Trail), 2003 Vouvray Moelleux Lemaire (9.95; Stone, Vine & Sun) and 2004 Joostenburg Chenin Blanc Noble Late Harvest (10.50/375ml; Berry Bros & Rudd).

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Margaret River is the region to look for if you're inclined to spend a little more than average on a bottle of wine, says VICTORIA MOORE. She recommends 2004 Evans & Tate Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc (5.99; Asda), 2001 Xanadu Semillon (10.49; Oddbins) and 2002 Fermoy Estate Merlot (13.50; Great Western Wine).

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