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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

JONATHAN RAY's love affair with Guinness goes back a long time. When Ray was suffering from glandular fever aged 19, his mother dashed to the chemist, while his father simply called Oddbins for 24 cans of the black stuff to be delivered to his son's bedside. During a trip to Guinness's St James's Gate brewery in Dublin, Ray learns that there are, in fact, 20 different types of Guinness, including Guinness Extra Smooth (only available in Ghana), and Guinness Extra Special (only in Belgium). And brewmaster Fergal Murray finally dispels the rumour that Irish Guinness is better than its UK counterpart: 'It's a complete myth. They taste exactly the same, although for some historical reason, the Irish version is 4.2%, while the English one is 4.1%.'

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The Independent On Sunday

Published:  23 July, 2008

RICHARD EHRLICH has always been a keen clubber, saying, 'There are few better ways to learn about wine than by talking it through with others.' And while this used to involve a night in with a few like-minded friends, there is now a new wine club - called Virtual Wine - that is geared towards the e-generation. Ehrlich reports: 'You buy a case, two bottles of six different wines, and then go online at a specified time to discuss them with fellow users and a group from the company itself.' It may be 'new and untested', but Ehrlich reckons it's also 'an intriguing idea that deserves a look'. His top corks include 2001 Gulfi Nerojbleo, Sicily (10.69; Oddbins).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JANE MacQUITTY has also been giving some time to Rioja in Retail, and she bemoans 'the Spanish obsession with excessive ageing in ropey old oak barrels'. However, there are a good many youngsters making up for old wood, and MacQuitty reports, 'Most merchants credit crianzas for the record 23 million litres of Rioja we drank last year.' She recommends trying 2002 Vega del Rioja Crianza from Bodegas Navajas (5.99; Morrisons).

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Argentina is the focus for JONATHAN RAY this week. With back-to-back trade tastings for Chile and Argentina at Lord's cricket ground, Ray is feeling 'a sense of South American

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

The first series of Richard and Judy's wine club drew in about 70,000 members, and LYNN BARBER joins the famous couple to discuss the launch of the second series. 'What makes the programme great is the experts - ice queen Susy Atkins, exuberant Joe Wadsack and dishy Jean-Marc Sauboua aka "sex on legs",' says Barber. And it would seem their presence on the show is very much needed, since Judy admits, 'I'm not desperately fond of wine.' Barber sympathises with the judges, commenting, 'It must be a bit disheartening for them when Richard declares that the difference between a 10 wine and a 80 wine is 'psychosomatic', or when Judy says stoutly that she 'just can't stand the taste', but Barber also acknowledges that the couple's 'formidable power to engage and educate their audience' will be enough to keep the show on the road.

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Three wines to drink 'young and fresh' from JOANNA SIMON: 2004 La Basca Uvas Blancas (4.99; Marks & Spencer); 2004 Evans & Tate Classic Semillon/Sauvignon (5.99; Asda); and 2004 Saumur Les Nivires (4.99; Waitrose).

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

A clutch of southern French reds enchanted GILES KIME. Among them were 2004 Chteau Guiot Costires de Nmes (4.79; Majestic), 2001 Grard Bertrand Pinot Noir (6.52; Asda) and, making its second appearance in the press this week, 2003

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

'Why wait until 6pm to reach for the corkscrew?' asks JAMIE GOODE. Why indeed, when there are wines such as 2004

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Thanks to a 'promising run of vintages', there is a 'good selection' of Bordeaux arriving in the UK at the moment, says JOANNA SIMON. Examples include 2000 Canon-Fronsac Chteau du Gaby (10.50; Fortnum & Mason), 2000 Chteau La Vieille Cure, Fronsac (14.99; Sainsbury's) and 2002 Classic Selection Margaux (12.99; Sainsbury's).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

According to JANCIS ROBINSON MW, Italy is struggling, with falling sales in each of its main export markets, and with life particularly tough in the 'traditional centres of red-wine quality, Tuscany and Piedmont'. The problem is not the wines themselves so much as communication about them - 'Italians are not good at explaining things to outsiders. It seems to be viewed as a weakness rather than a sales aid to embellish a bottle with a back label' explaining what the 'eight proper names' on the front label refer to. Still, 'nowhere is more thrilling and enjoyable to visit', and there are plenty of 'distinctive and fairly priced' wines about, such as 2004 Casal dei Cavalieri, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Umani Ronchi (8.99; Waitrose) and 2003 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colle Morino (83.40 per dozen; John Armit).

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Also putting his caution for Greek gifts to one side is ANTHONY ROSE. 'For a land steeped in classical lore and viticultural history, it's remarkable how undistinguished [Greece's] wines have been in modern times,' Rose says. Greek wine has been reinventing itself, however, and the likes of 2003 Hatzidakis Santorini (9.99; Adnams) a 'Chablis-like, minerally dry white by arguably Greece's best winemaker'; Samos Nectar (9.70; Adnams; www.fortnumandmason.com; Tanners); and 2004 Santorini Boutari (5.99; Oddbins) help to keep 'the pine resin strictly bathroom'.

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The Daily Mail

Published:  23 July, 2008

Syrah, or Shiraz, 'one of the mightiest red grapes on the face of the earth', gets the MATTHEW JUKES treatment this week. Among his picks is 2003 Ctes-du-Rhne Villages, Domaine de la Jrome, Sylvette Brchet (8.95; Jeroboams & Laytons) - 'the most impressive red Rhne I have tasted this year' - while his wine of the week, 2003 Chteau Cazal Viel, Cuve des Fes, St-Chinian (6.99; Waitrose), is 'a rampantly impressive Syrah/

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JANE MacQUITTY is annoyed, some might say intemperately so, that the government's guidelines for safe drinking allow just 14 units per week for a woman and 21 for a man. MacQuitty prefers the advice proffered by her colleague on The Times, Dr Thomas Stuttaford in his leaflet The Wise Drinker's Guide, available through Waitrose, which sets the upper limit at 21 units for women and 28 for men. And she reckons it's 'high time' her health insurers listened to research showing that 'moderate drinkers live longer'. As for what to spend those precious extra units on, MacQuitty's wines of the week include a pair of 2003 vins de pays d'Oc: Virginie Syrah and Virginie Roussanne (both 4.99; Oddbins).

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

'For too long, half-bottles have been seen as the preserve of either the lonely or the cautious drinker,' says JONATHAN RAY. 'In fact, they are a godsend to wine lovers, often enabling us to enjoy our wine in greater variety and quality (and even quantity) than is possible with fully fledged 75cls.' Ray laments the relative difficulty of finding halves, certainly in the multiples, which prefer screwcapped 25cl bottles and tend to reserve 37.5cl bottles for dessert wines. 'But it is in restaurants that halves really come into their own.' Both Ray and James Palmer of Roussillon restaurant in Pimlico 'can't understand' why they're not more popular with restaurateurs, 'not least because the margins are good and a couple dining together might have three different halves rather than one bottle'.

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The Daily Mail

Published:  23 July, 2008

MATTHEW JUKES picks out his favourite sparklers, including NV Prosecco La Marca (5.99; Waitrose) and NV Sparkling Pinot Grigio (6.99; Marks & Spencer). His Wine of the Week is NV Wolf Blass Red Label Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir (7.99; Sainsbury's).

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

GILES KIME is rooting for Riesling and his drinks of the week include 2003 Bassermann-Jordan Pfalz (6.99; Waitrose) and 2003 Tesco Finest Great Southern (7.99; Tesco).

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

JAMIE GOODE is starting early these days and recommends a couple of bottles for 'those lavish, loungy brunches': 2005 Woolpunda Cabernet Ros, South Australia (4.79; Morrisons), 2001 Carmen Nativo Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo (7.99; Waitrose, Booths).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Investing in wine is 'akin to having a punt on the horses', says JANE MacQUITTY. 'Do lots of research before you buy' is her main point, and check www.wine-searcher.com on a regular basis if you want to keep up with the game. MacQuitty's top wines this week include 2003 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon (5.99; Co-Op) and 2004 Climbing Merlot, Orange, Australia (8.99, or buy two for 6.49 each; Majestic).

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

There's no need to abandon white wine just because summer's nearly over, says VICTORIA MOORE. 'Plenty of whites are just as tempting in chilly weather as they are when it is blazing hot,' she adds, listing a couple of full-bodied examples: 2004 Laurent Miquel Vrit Viognier Vin de Pays d'Oc (11.99; Waitrose) and 2003 Pancole Vernaccia di San Gimignano (7.50; Lea & Sandeman).

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The Independent On Sunday

Published:  23 July, 2008

Did you know that the smell of hamburgers and freshly baked bread can trigger road rage attacks? Neither did I, but a study at West Virginia's Wheeling Jesuit University has shown that such aromas make 'drivers become hungry and therefore irritable, and thus likely to drive too fast', reports RICHARD EHRLICH. The research also found that four odours induce a sense of calm: coffee, lemon, cinnamon and peppermint. Cue a couple of summer drink recommendations. Ehrlich has a soft spot for the New Orleans classic, Caf Brlot, a mix of strong black coffee, brandy, sugar, citrus peel, cloves and vanilla. His second tip is iced tea, 'another drink at which Americans excel'. His recipe comprises strong tea and fizzy water, in a ratio of 3:1, over ice, with a touch of lemon or lime juice and a sprig of mint. Enough to placate the most inflamed motorist, surely.

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