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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Forget Pinot Grigio,' says JOANNA SIMON. Forget wine and food pairing. The new foodie fashion is beer and food matching.' Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche and Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck are among this new breed of beer enthusiast, she says, alongside regional devotees such as Anthony's restaurant in Leeds. For those who fancy a spot of experimentation, Simon's suggestions include Kasteel Cru(Waitrose) from Alsace as an aperitif with cheese straws, and Artois Bock (Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons, Thresher) from Belgium with smoked sausages, red meat and game.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Old World and the New World are beginning to blur at the edges, says JANCIS ROBINSON MW. I don't think the market is by any means as polarised now,' she comments. Equally, she doesn't believe it's still relevant to paint the world of wine in the broad brushstrokes of commercial success for the New World and doldrums for the Old'.

France may have suffered from a loss of market share but California and Australia have had to endure an embarrassing grape glut and shrivelling corporate profits'. There have also been mergers in terms of style, she continues, pointing to the increasing number of Rhne-like Syrahs coming from places such as Australia and Chile, as well as the more consumer-friendly, fruit-forward wines that have been appearing in Bordeaux. There is now such a thorough blending of ideas and techniques that it is no wonder that New and Old World stereotypes are on the wane', she concludes.

ANDREW JEFFORD considers how the whisky world is increasingly dominated by big-playing brands and explains why this is a disappointing trend for the true whisky lover: intellectually and culturally, the result is boredom'. The upside, however, has been a journey back towards the authenticity, individuality and character of malt whisky'. And it needn't stop there, he continues, the latest entrepreneurial outfit is an interactive members-only distillery to be built in Fife.

At a cost of 3,250 for membership, Jefford admits the scheme looks expensive', but the advantage is that eventually you may be able to pour a glass of malt for your friends and say "I helped make this"'.

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

TIM ATKIN MW briefly experiences a taste of monastical life while spending three nights in a hard and narrow' bed in the Abb de Fontevraud, to play his part in the judging at an international Cabernet Franc convention. There is a sense that Cabernet Franc is an outcasts' grape,' says Atkin. It's not quite a leper among varieties... but it's definitely not part of the mainstream.' This doesn't mean that it isn't worthy, argues Atkin, who reports that there's plenty of work going on in the Loire Valley under the influence of Sam Harrop MW, who has encouraged producers to pick their grapes later and to make wines with softer, more approachable, tannins'. Atkin advises readers to try 2005 Monastier Cabernet Franc, Vin de Pays d'Oc (4.99; Majestic).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JANCIS ROBINSON MW gives her own take on summertime drinking and says: I think the refreshment factor, which should be a prerequisite in all wines in my view but is regrettably absent from an increasing proportion of reds, is paramount in summer.' Chenin Blanc is one of the grapes that fares well in this regard, she continues, flagging up 2004 Domaine Pierre Bise, Clos de Coulaine Savennires (9.75; Stone, Vine & Son) and one of the New World's finest Chenin Blancs', 2004 Forrester Meinert Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch(16.99; selected Waitrose). Her column wouldn't be complete, however, without a nod to Riesling, and although she is giving Germany a rest this week', Alsace comes up with an alternative: 2004 Domaine Frdric Mochel Riesling (9.95; Vine Trail of Bristol).

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

Gazpachos are a 'great way to start a summer dinner party', says JAMIE GOODE and the best wine matches will have 'a bit of richness and weight'. Try 2005 Martn Codax Albario, Ras Baixas (8.50; Majestic, Roberson, SH Jones, Wright Wine).

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

'If you switch off as soon as anybody mentions German wines, you're showing your age,' says JOANNA SIMON. When tasted blind, Riesling often scores higher than Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, she says, and sceptics are pointed towards 2005 Mineralstein Riesling (5.99; Marks & Spencer).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

TIM ATKIN MW has toppled over to the dark side and declared himself to be a believer. That is to say, he's beginning to think that wines, just like people, have good and bad days' and he is thus prepared to put faith in the biodynamic idea of root', fruit' and flower' days.

He's not the only one who feels so inclined, and a chat with Marks and Spencer's wine buyer, Jo Ahearne, reveals that the retailer is hugely guided by lunar cycles and never holds press tastings on root days any more'. Some of the best from M&S included 2004 Lone Range Pinot Noir, Martinborough (14.99).

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The Independent On Sunday

Published:  23 July, 2008

RICHARD EHRLICH turns his attention to the role of the mixer this week and comments: 'You can't make a good cocktail unless every single ingredient is high quality.' One possibility with vodka is Grove Fresh Original Tomato and Vegetable juice (2.39-2.79; selected Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Booth's and independents), which is described as 'all organic, improbably good for you, and entirely delicious'.

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The Daily Mail

Published:  23 July, 2008

The final instalment of MATTHEW JUKE's Italian series looks at how its grape varieties have fared away from their homeland. 2005 Thorn Clarke Terra Barossa Pinot Gris, Eden Valley, South Australia (7.99 down to 6.99 each if you buy two bottles; Majestic) benefits from 'oodles of green apple and pear notes', and 2005 Norton Barbera, Mendoza (4.99; Waitrose) is 'one of the best-value Barberas on the planet'.

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Bordeaux has finally released its prices for the 2005 vintage and ANTHONY ROSE reports: 'Just when everyone thought that the big-name chteaux couldn't get more expensive, many of them have surpassed themselves in an orgy of exorbitant pricing.' The good news is that some of the lesser chteaux have kept things affordable, and when it comes to getting hold of them, Rose says: 'Among the specialists, Farr Vintners has one of the best-priced selections.' His recommendation for wine under a fiver is 2005 Palandri Pinnacle Semillon Sauvignon (4.99; Waitrose).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Oliver Haag of the Weingut Fritz Haag estate tells JANCIS ROBINSON MW that Germany's 2005s 'combine the minerality of 2004 with the body of 2003' and she is the first to agree. 'Most 2005s are looking so delightfully bright now that they make the 2004s, which seemed so impressively classical and finely etched a year ago, appear rather surly when tasted alongside,' she comments. This is the result of a near-perfect growing season, she continues, and although she hasn't turned her attention to an in-depth tasting yet, 'what is already on show is a very convincing herald of what promises to be one of Germany's most glorious vintages'.

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

GILES KIME rises to the challenge of finding a wine match for green minestrone with pesto, recommending 2004 Barbera (6.49; Marks and Spencer).

The wonderfully dry, sotto voce flavours of this Italian red are a perfect match.'

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

TIM ATKIN MW decides to take on Sainsbury's 'Taste the Difference' Challenge and decides that the 33-strong range will be hard for other supermarkets to beat: 'It's not in my nature to hand out lavish praise to supermarkets, but this is the best own-label range I've ever tasted.' This also gives him a chance to bring up the International Wine Challenge (IWC) again - which awarded a couple of wines from the range - although he fails to point out to readers that he's actually chairman of the event. Tesco's bigger selection of 71 own-labels are used as the point of comparison and 'while some of the wines are very good indeed, the quality is considerably more varied'. One of his favourites from Sainsbury's is 2005 Taste the Difference Pouilly-Fum (8.99), while Tesco shines with 2004 Tesco Finest Marlborough Pinot Noir (9.99).

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

The wines of Yorkshire have been winning medals and SARAH TODD speaks to one of the northern entrepreneurs. George Bowden bought a south-facing patch of land, within Leeds' city boundaries in 1985 and turned it into Leventhorpe Vineyard. Since then, Todd reports that he has progressed in leaps and bounds', as well as setting something of a trend, with three other Yorkshire vineyards now in existence'. The sparkling wine has caught the imagination most', she continues, but overall, the wine has won too many medals to be a novelty'. Todd particularly likes 2004 Leventhorpe Madeleine Angevine (7; Leventhorpe Vineyard). Another English classic is 2003 Chapel Down Pinot Noir, Kent (12.99; Chapel Down Winery).

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Time Out

Published:  23 July, 2008

An anonymous contributor recommends Cointreau (16.99), Fragoli Wild Strawberry Liqueur (14.95; www.thedrinkshop.com), The King's Ginger Liqueur (14.45; Berry Bros); and Pama Pomegranate Liqueur (17.44; www.thedrinkshop.com).

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

JONATHAN RAY heads to the Cape and falls in love. 'The country is beautiful, the welcome effusive and the wines utterly bewitching.' Bruce Jack's Flagstone winery is one of the stop-off points and Ray comments: 'Innovative, daring and provocative, Jack has long been the enfant terrible of the South African wine industry'. Charles Back of Fairview is next on the list and Ray gets a chance to taste his three labels (Charles Back, Fairview and Spice Route) including the Goats do Roam series, which has been extended to include the Bordeaux-style red: Bored Doe. And in Ray's view, 'there's not a poor one among them'.

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

High-street outlets are awash with pink wines,' says JANE MacQUITTY.

Better red grapes have helped the quality and wishy-washy alcohol levels of 11% have also now popped up to a more flavoursome 13% and more'.

For something nice and cheap, MacQuitty suggests trying 2005 Neblina Merlot Ros, Chile (4.99 or 3.99 each when you buy two; Majestic).

Or, a little further up the price scale, MacQuitty's favourite ros for two years running is 2005 Lawson's Dry Hills, Marlborough Pinot Ros, New Zealand (9.99 or buy two for 7.99 each; Majestic).

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

If you switch off as soon as anybody mentions German wines, you're showing your age,' says JOANNA SIMON. When tasted blind, Riesling often scores higher than Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, she says, and sceptics are pointed towards 2005 Mineralstein Riesling (5.99; Marks & Spencer).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JANE MACQUITTY was one of the nine judges present at the recent rerun of the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting comparing the top wines of France and California, and she didn't expect the Californians to come out on top'. She was to be proved wrong and commented: There was no denying the grace and refinement of the California wines. Other New World wine producers such as Australia and Chile are not in the same league.' The overall winner was Ridge's Monte Bello and the 1999 vintage can be found at Berry Bros and Rudd (102).

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The Independent On Sunday

Published:  23 July, 2008

RICHARD EHRLICH turns his attention to the role of the mixer this week and comments: You can't make a good cocktail unless every single ingredient is high quality.' One possibility with vodka is Grove Fresh Original Tomato and Vegetable juice (2.39-2.79; selected Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Booth's and independents), which is described as all organic, improbably good for you, and entirely delicious'.

Read more...