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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

In a new column, (Food Monthly) LYNN BARBER recalls the not-so-golden era of boozing Britain: 'In the early Sixties... the only reason for buying wine was to make the bottles into table lamps.' She remembers that her parents never had wine at home, 'apart from one bottle of British VP wine, which was for medicinal purposes only (it tasted like Vegemite)'. And while at Oxford, the choice amounted to 'Pimm's, Champagne, punch, and of course the dreaded Sherry, which was always served at tutorials'. Fast forward to the late Seventies, 'the big breakthrough period when we started developing a proper, unselfconscious attitude to wine this was no thanks to English wine writers, who still banged on about chteaux and cellarage and the arcane art of decanting.' Nowadays, Barber is 'wary' of Australian wines, and sticks to France, Chile and South Africa.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Preparing herself for the 'almost certain prospect of humiliation', JANCIS ROBINSON MW endures a late-night drive across England to get to the Granada television studios for the filming of University Challenge. 'The surreality only deepened when we eventually got to Manchester and the studios. Yes, Dale Winton is orange. And very tall.' Robinson got a further fright when she saw the opposition: the presenters of Radio Four's Today programme. On the plus side, the MW team took heart from the sight of four stressed newshounds and their 'desperate leafing through the Sunday papers for last-minute tips and Who's the prime minister of Canada again?'

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

ANTHONY ROSE admits that he has been guilty of giving red wines 'Old-MacDonald-and-his-farm-like compliments' when in fact, he was experiencing the whiff of brett. At a recent seminar led by oenologist Pascal Chatonnet on 'malodorous wines', Rose found that as well as brett, the little-known, environment-taint-led TBA is also responsible for whiffy wines, and is caused by contamination from other materials in the winery, such as oak barrels and wooden roofs.

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Wines that accompany seafood are chosen by GILES KIME. He opts for 2004 Dashwood Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (7.59; Oddbins); 2004 Naked Grape Riesling (5.99; Waitrose); and 2002 Chablis Premier Cru Jean-Marc Brocard (10.99; Sainsbury's).

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

As an experiment, JONATHAN RAY takes two 3.99 red wines, decants one, leaves the other in the bottle and invites six friends to compare them. 'There is an unseemly jostle for the decanter, which is drained in no time,' he says, 'while the bottle is virtually ignored. All six declare the decanted wine far superior to its counterpart.' Rob Chase of Adnams tells Ray that decanting 'adds 50% to a wine's value in minutes. Even Chardonnay, of any age, from anywhere, improves dramatically after decanting.'

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

'Devastated' by rumours that JOANNA SIMON is 'anti-Chardonnay', she goes out of her way to prove that this is most certainly not the case. She recommends 2003 Scotchmans Hill Geelong (9.99; Oddbins); 2003 Domaine de Massia (5.99, reduced to 5.49 each when two bottles are bought; Majestic); and 2003 Bouchard Finlayson Crocodile's Lair (9.99; Waitrose)

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JANE MacQUITTY's Top 100 Summer Wines rundown continues, and her Star White this week is 2002 Sduction de la Beaugravire, Juranon (8.49; Oddbins): 'Concentrate on the luscious tropical fruit flavours that stem from the floral, intensely aromatic Petit Manseng, the dominant grape in this blend.' Her recommended ros is 2004 Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Pinot Ros (8.499.99; Lay & Wheeler, Majestic), which has a 'delicious, peppery fruit finish', while her Star Red is 2003 Fleurie, Domaine Andr Colonge et Fils (9.95; Berry Bros & Rudd), which 'delivers the sort of gorgeous, scented, textbook, floral damson plum finesse that set this Beaujolais appellation's standard'

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The Independent On Sunday

Published:  23 July, 2008

A new book on food and wine matching is reviewed by RICHARD EHRLICH. Matching Food and Wine (20; Weidenfeld & Nicolson) by Michel Roux Jr 'is organised as a cookbook, with recipes both for fancy cooking and for humble home or bistro dishes'. Ehrlich delights in Roux's 'latitudinarian approach', and a potentially tricky match for smoked eel with beetroot and horseradish cream is conquered with Savennires and Aquavit. For cheese-and-ham fritters, Roux suggests pink Champagne, a Rhine Riesling Sptlese, or white lager. For cheese, Roux says: 'Some matches are made in heaven, while others leave your mouth feeling like you have bitten into a piece of willow bark with a spoonful of washing-up liquid for good measure!

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

The powerful and perfumed charms of the Viognier grape are exulted by TIM ATKIN MW. Frustrated by the high prices of Condrieu wines of the northern Rhne ('a licence to print euros'), Atkin looks to California, Australia and the Languedoc as cheaper alternatives. He also believes that Viognier 'belongs in the same exalted company' as Chardonnay, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc'.

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

JONATHAN BRACEY-GIBBON selects wines to go with vegetarian dishes. His choices include: 2004 Heartland Stickleback Semillon/Chardonnay/Verdelho (5.95; Great Western Wine), 'a great party wine with relatively low alcohol'; and 2002 Montana Reserve Riesling (7.99; Oddbins), which displays a 'mildly perfumed aroma with subtle petrol hints, lychees and citrus fruit and a floral finish with firm acidity'. His final choice, a good match with mushroom dishes, is 2003 Home Ranch Pinot Noir (7.99; Marks & Spencer): 'Strawberry and raspberry fruit aromas prevail here, but the wine is predominantly smooth and chocolatey on the palate and finish.'

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JOANNA SIMON was also at the masterclass, and recommends three screwcapped wines, on the basis that 'I have never had a corked screwcap wine'. They are: 2003 Tim Smith GMS Grenache/Mataro/Shiraz (14.99; Oz Wines); 2003 Arrogant Frog Ribet White (5.99; Unwins); and 2003 Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc (6.99; widely available).

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

To mark English Wine Week, ANTHONY ROSE takes his Argentinian friend Marcelo to Kent for his first-ever taste of English wine. Arriving at The Swan at The Vineyard in Lamberhurst, Rose admits he was anticipating 'wine glasses clinking to the sound of Greensleeves', and was duly surprised to see 'Sunday lunches being washed down with pints of beer and the odd bottle of Rioja'. Moving on to the nearby Vineyard Bistro, Rose was greeted with a full selection of the Curious Grape range from the English Wines Group on the list, at least: 'Marcelo was keen to tackle the wine tasting. But when he asked if the wines had been opened today, he was told: Some are and some aren't; we can't just open a new bottle every day.'

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

The growing popularity of ros may be good news for producers in the south of France, but this trend, VICTORIA MOORE explains, 'has completely discombobulated those upper-middle-class types who still rely on there being a difference between a sofa and a settee to buttress their egos'. So much so, evidently, that an anxiously penned letter was sent to the Spectator, demanding to know the rules and regulations on how to drink ros. 'Out of doors and in company' was the reply, to which Moore's retort is 'stuff and nonsense'. 'I have been swigging back ros in earnest for seven years, ever since hooking up with the man to whom I am now married,' she says. She also recommends 2004 Chteau Guiot Ros Costires de Nmes (5.29, or 4.50 each if two bottles are bought; Majestic) and 2004 Turkey Flat Ros (7.999.99; Tanners, Noel Young, Bottle & Basket, Nidderdale Fine Wines).

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The Independent On Sunday

Published:  23 July, 2008

RICHARD EHRLICH recommends three current 'bargains' from Marks & Spencer: 2004 Saint Mont (3.99); 2003 Minervois Grard Bertrand (3.99 from 5.49); and 2004 El Dueno Chardonnay (3.99).

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JOANNA SIMON launches a campaign this week, imploring everyone to drink French wine: 'Perhaps you don't drink French wine because you prefer the easy, fruity taste of New World wines or Italian Pinot Grigio, and you like the way these wines are always on promotion. One day, though, you may want a change from yet another Identikit Chardonnay, Shiraz or Merlot. You may want something more individual and authentic, something that goes better with food - and it may be too late.' She recommends 2003 Ctes du Rhne Blanc Les Gendrines (15.35; Jeroboams); 2003 Arrogant Frog Cabernet/Merlot (5.99; Unwins); and 2002 Chablis Les Serres, Oudin (9.75; Stone, Vine & Sun).

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

As the weather heats up, JONATHAN BRACEY-GIBBON turns his attention to picnic wines. 'Picnics spell dry, fruity, fresh wines, usually white and occasionally with a sprinkling of bubbles,' he says. Sauvignon Blanc or 'a fine Chablis if you're feeling slightly indulgent' are good choices, but he also recommends 2004 Three Choirs Variations (4.98; Asda); NV Jacob's Creek Sparkling Ros (7.99; Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Asda); 2004 Graham Beck Viognier (6.99; Sainsbury's); 2004 Finest Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (7.49; Tesco); 2004 Chteau Pierrail Bordeaux Blanc (4.49; Booths).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

It's the right time to make a 'song and dance' about 2004 ross, says JANCIS ROBINSON MW. Many of the 2003s were 'casualties of the heatwave summer', she says, adding that 'a ros without the thorn of acidity is a sorry thing'. Robinson says that producers in the Languedoc 'have been putting an increasing amount of effort into their pink wines'; in the Loire, 'acidity levels are high, but very pale pink Pinot from Sancerre and refreshing pink Cabernets from much further downriver can be satisfying if there is enough ripe fruit to counterbalance the acidity'; Italy provides 'some toothsome examples' from Lake Garda; Spain and Portugal are 'enthusiastic producers of particularly fruity, bumptious rosado'; while 'many New World producers are showing signs of real creativity in their offerings for this renascent wine category'.

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

When asked to pick a 'glass of good red wine', VICTORIA MOORE picks three: 2000 Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot (15.99; Oddbins); 2001 Crozes-Hermitage Cuve Alberic Bouvet, Domaine Gilles Robin (12.95; Lea & Sandeman); and 2004 Excelsior Paddock Shiraz (5.99; Sainsbury's, Waitrose).

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

'There is every reason to believe that Argentine wine will soon outstrip the Andean potato as the country's finest contribution to lunch and dinner,' says RORY ROSS.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

During a brief stop-off in London, consultant winemaker Michel Rolland meets JANCIS ROBINSON MW. Naturally, her first enquiry is about Mondovino, which painted Rolland as a laughing cavalier. He tells her: 'It showed only a very small, unexciting part of my work. I'm not the greatest fan of micro-oxygenation. The guy [director Jonathan Nossiter] has been really dishonest. On the soundtrack, for instance, he makes my voice seem stronger than it is. But I do admit that I have a Mercedes and a driver.' Robinson thinks that Nossiter's attack on Rolland is both 'unnecessary and foolish': 'Firstly, he is immensely likeable and is therefore widely liked, so he makes an extremely unpopular target. Secondly, he is obviously extremely able.'

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