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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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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jancis Robinson MW is once again mulling over Bordeaux and the surprising vintage that was 2007. "It was," she feels "difficult not to be struck by how much more guts the whites had" - something that was particularly true of the "sweet whites." Despite the 2007 desserts not possessing the "finesse" of the 2001s, they come highly recommended nonetheless. Among the chteaux where sweets scored at least 17.5 out of 20 on the Robinson scale were d'Yquem, Rieussec, Raymond Lafon and Climens.

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

There is little mileage for consumers looking to buy Bordeaux 2007 en primeur, says Anthony Rose. "It's a sound enough vintage, good in parts" he reasons, "but only in the best of years is it worth shelling out in advance". Rose says one of the region's virtues is that good claret "doesn't have to cost an arm and both legs". Elsewhere he recommends the 2006 Shiraz Shaw and Smith (18.49, Noel Young) for its "distinctly savoury, peppery undertones of Adelaide Hills' cool climate vineyards".

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jancis Robinson MW touches on some research out last week, which attributed a drop in Chardonnay sales to the tragic singleton Bridget Jones effect. "I would argue that the Anything But Chardonnay' (ABC) sentiment is at its peak right now," she said. In fact, the "wine world seems thoroughly bored by Chardonnay at the moment," unless of course you refer to it as Montrachet, Grand Cru Chablis or Blanc de Blancs Champagne, Robinson concedes.

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Victoria Moore had a strict brief from her mother last week, which was to find "a white wine to give to lots of people whose tastes I don't know". The Guardian critic took this to mean no Sauvignon Blanc "or any other white in which searing, reverberating acidity is the key". Instead she opted for Chieti's Terra Viva, from the Italian province of Abruzzo which fits the brief perfectly given "it's relatively neutral". She adds: "even more crucially, it has the barest touch of soothing sugar". Other options for Moore's mother included the 2006 Saumur Blanc Les Andides (5.99, Waitrose) that fits in "the ideal first glass of wine" bracket.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jancis Robinson MW was at a Bordeaux tasting of La Mission wines organised by Farr Vintners last week. The wines ranged from 2005 back to 1929 making Robinson and the 29 other guests assembled from six different countries "extremely grateful" for the experience. The FT critic helpfully categorised the top La Missions into Great Vintages" (including 2005, 2000 and 1959 among others) and "Less Predictable Successes" (encapsulating 2004, 1999 and 1978 among others).

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Resurging French wine sales in the UK are helpful in jogging the memory of some lesser-known appellations, Joanna Simon believes. Forget Bordeaux and think more to the south and east, she says, with Madiran, Ctes de Saint-Mont, Cahors, Gaillac and Fronton all names to look out for. The 2004 Cahors, Le Petit Clos Triguedina (7.99, Waitrose) has "classic blackberry and graphite flavours with fine tannins" while the 2005 Madiran Rserve des Tuguets (4.99, Tesco) features for its "herb and wood-smoke flavours".

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Pinot Noir is one of the few exceptions to the widely held truism that the best value wines cost between 6 and 9, Victoria Moore feels. This is not because "a 5 bottle of Pinot Noir can't be good", she hastens to add, more that by moving to the 10 mark "you begin to find wines that start to get it". Moore says it is at this point when "suddenly, the fairy dust comes out, the light goes on, some kind of magic sparkle arrives that simply wasn't there before". The Guardian critic says: "Either you're prepared to pay it and get it or you're not." If you fall into the former bracket, she suggests the 2005 Pinot Noir Martinborough Vineyard (22, Harrods) or the 2005 Pinot Noir Cte de Beaune (92 for six bottles, Armit).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jane MacQuitty says tasting pink wines in the run-up to summer is no longer the struggle it once was. "My pink wine tasting success rate this summer was far higher than that achieved for either whites or reds," she explains. Among her favourites are the 2007 Las Falleras Ros (3.79, M&S) "with its pleasant, grapey fruit" and the 2007 Gran Tesoro Garnacha Ros (3.19, Tesco). If you fancy trading up, MacQuitty recommends you try the "rich, raspberry-stashed" 2007 Chteau d'Aqueria Tavel Ros (Majestic, 9.99).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Tasting notes are not what they used to be, according to Tim Atkin MW. This thought crossed his mind when skimming the cellar notebook of 19th century wine writer Thomas George Shaw whose one-word scribblings mean he "wouldn't last five minutes in today's wine world". Atkin admits a "lack of space means that I can't write a small essay on each bottle" and he "can only give you a (necessarily subjective) snapshot of its flavours". It is for this reason that the he applauds the upcoming changes to Sainsbury's own-label range, which will use colour coding to give the consumer a fuller picture. His pick of the Taste the Difference (TTD) range, all available at Sainsbury's, includes the 2006 Gewrtztraminer Alsace (4.99), the "lively" 2006 Chianti Classico Cecchi (7.99) and the "fruitcakey, full bodied" 2006 Amarone Cantina Valpaneta.

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Last week Tim Atkin MW spent 500 (of his own money, he assures us) to attend a very special tasting of Cte Rtie. Emphasising he is "not someone who has money to throw away" and has never "flashed my own credit card so wantonly", Atkin admits this was something of a special occasion. The tasting - organised by Christie's Wine Department - gave the Observer critic a chance to select 20 samples from the "greatest ever" vintage of 1999. He adds the "myth" that the Syrah/Viognier blend is typical of Cte Rtie has caught on in other parts of the world, especially Australia. There are some great opportunities that have sprung from this folklore, particularly if you are looking to spend in the 30 bracket. He recommends the 2005 Shiraz/Viognier Yering Station (9.99, Sainsbury's) and the "intense yet balanced 2004" Cte Rtie Domaine Jamet (34.90, Bibendum).

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

"Alfresco wine doesn't have to be restricted to cheep and cheerful reds," reasons Jamie Goode. With the BBQ season underway, the Express writer has chosen a number of "versatile wines" which will "stand up to the strong flavours of grilled meat and fish". He selects the 2005 Malbec Landelia (8.49, Virgin Wines) as this Argentine grape "is the perfect match for barbecued steak". Goode also highlights the "classy" 2005 Mont Tauch L'Exception Fitou (10.99, Majestic), a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah.

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Tim Atkin is mulling over the results of a recent wine consumer research survey published by Constellation and he is not overly impressed. The results revealed a "deep lacunae of ignorance" with only 21% of the 1,000-plus interviewees knowing that Chablis is a wine region. His disdain is apparent: "If a monkey had answered the questions by ticking the same box every time, he would have scored better than 60% of the interviewees." Atkin was particularly surprised only a third of respondents knew of Rioja, which he feels is "one of the most recognisable wine names on the planet". On the subject of Spain, he highlights the 2006 Fransola, Torres (13.99, Handford Wines) and the 2005 Albario Castro Martin Family Reserve (10.45, Bibendum), which should be drunk "young".

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Italy is meant to feature prominently at this year's London International Wine Fair so it is interesting to see Jancis Robinson MW covering this topic in her weekly column. Italy's time-honoured reds are not the discussion point, however, and it is "the dramatically improved whites" on which she focuses. Prices tend to vary enormously, Robinson adds, from the 2007 Fiano, IGT Sicilia (5.99, Tesco) to the 2005 Soave Leonildo Pieropan (24, Jeroboams). The best-buy award goes to the 2006 Pinot Grigio Necotium (7.95, Berry Bros).

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

British wine drinkers, tired of "identikit new-world bottles" have rekindled their enthusiasm for French wines, claims Joanna Simon, with French wine imports rising by 4% in 2007. Not only has quality improved, but the French are finally starting to get their act together on the marketing front, something they used to dismiss - to their cost.
Simon recommends the 2007 Apremont de Savoie, Domaine des Rocailles (5.99, Waitrose), the 2005 Chignin Bergeron (12.75, Vine Trail), which she describes as "outstanding, rich and honeyed", and the 2002 Arbois, Cuvee des Geologues, a rare red Jura from trousseau which Simon likens to a good Burgundy (12.35, Les Caves de Pyrene).

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Victoria Moore is championing Cava this week, despite the sneers of one of her friends and her admission that she has been "scorchingly rude" about the drink in the past. She admits if you are looking for a Wagner-esque "cerebral" experience then Cava may not be the best choice but otherwise "there's a lot to be said for trading down to trade up". Moore suggests trying the Codorniu Reserva Raventos (8.99, Majestic), which is "an ample, easy drink, with none of the nitpicking, dirty-edged vacuity that too often characterises Cava".

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

"For once the dry white wines of Bordeaux take precedence over the reds," says Jane MacQuitty. This is no mean feat, she adds, given these wines only represent a tenth of the region's production and "command little attention or market value". Ironically, the reason for the resurgence of Bordeaux's 2007 whites is exactly the same factor that "scuppered" the reds - a cold, wet summer. We should "start saving now", warns MacQuitty, as "prices for 2007 Bordeaux are unlikely to fall to a level where many British drinkers will want to buy them at this early, en primeur stage".

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Whatever the tasting, you are guaranteed to get at least one person who will register their dislike for oaky whites, says Joanna Simon. The problem is not the oak per se, she adds, but the way it is harnessed. "It's not the oak they dislike, but heavy-handed use of it, often in the form of cheap oak chipsinstead of expensive new oak barrels containing wine". Simon sympathises whether you dislike oak or not and says the "one grape you can rely on if you want to avoid oaky wine is Riesling". In this vein, she recommends the 2007 Riesling Spy Valley (9.99, Bibendum).

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