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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JOANNA SIMON thinks that Majestic's offering 'has taken a quantum leap' and recommends three of its wines: 2001 Sonoma Creek Chardonnay (3.99 each when two bottles are bought); 2004 Mas Las Cabes Muscat Sec (5.99 each for two); and 2002 Bourgogne Cte Chalonnaise Les Gorgres, Michel Sarrazin (8.99 each for two).

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

In the latest of his interviews with wine-loving celebs, JONATHAN RAY asks actress Jennifer Ehle how she copes with swigging glass after glass of caramel-coloured soda water (under the guise of Champagne) in the role of Tracy Lord in the Old Vic theatre's production of The Philadelphia Story. 'Because I'm required to drink it pretty rapidly,' she replies, 'the worst thing is trying so hard not to burp. Not very ladylike, I know, but I usually manage to wait until it's someone else's line.' Off-stage, Ehle has developed a taste for Prosecco ('I just like the way it makes me feel'), in particular Ca' Rosa Prosecco di Valdobbiadene (7.79; Oddbins). She also had a taste for cocktails, but admits that motherhood has taken its toll: 'When I last looked, the cocktail shakers were in my son's toy box being used as drums and rocket boosters.'

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Vodka may have taken its place as the 'darling of the cocktail circuit' during the nineties, but IAN WISNIEWSKI reckons that it's high time for a gin revival: 'Served cold and bold, the gin and tonic is being rediscovered. Many people are introduced to gin through this archetypal combination, so it is vital to apply zero-tolerance to any G&T abuse (served in a wine glass with warm tonic, no ice, maybe limp lemon, maybe not). Moreover, it's often assumed that, mixed with tonic, a gin's character doesn't show through, which implies that the brand doesn't matter. It does.'

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JANCIS ROBINSON MW was rather perturbed that upon her arrival at the generic German wine tasting, every other person there was keen to introduce her to 'the director of the International Sugar Organization'. On the 2004 harvest, she notes that by the end of September, 'acidity levels in Germany's great Riesling grapes were still worryingly high. But fortunately, as so often in Germany, good weather in October finally brought ripeness. Just about everything in 2004 was the opposite of sweltering, dry 2003, and again, just as in Bordeaux, the most common word on every wine producer's lips about the 2004s is classic.

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

When it comes to matching wine and salad, look no further than JONATHAN BRACEY-GIBBON. After an unfortunate experiment with a Thai salad and red wine, he's sticking with 'fresh, fruity whites'. For a 'peppery, chillied fusion salad', he recommends 2004 Layda Sauvignon Blanc (7.49; Oddbins), which displays 'honeyed, mint flavours on top of the usual fresh, gooseberry, grassy notes'. He also picks 2002 Trierer Deutschherrenberg Riesling (5.99; Majestic) and Denbies Chalk Ridge (5.49; Sainsbury's).

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Concluding his summer drinking round-up, JONATHAN RAY picks a host of wines suitable for the great British summer. For picnics, he suggests the 'light and frothy' 2004 Brown Brothers Moscato (5.99; Tesco); for barbecues, he opts for 2003 The Boulders Viognier (4.99; Co-op), which 'has no shortage of spicy, aromatic flavour'; while for weekday suppers he plumps for the 'charming, light and elegant' NV Prosecco (6.99; Marks & Spencer).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

With 'wedding month' and the peak of the British social season approaching, JANCIS ROBINSON MW urges British hosts to save themselves a fortune 'by taking the trouble to buy their Champagne in France'. Those seeking 'seriously interesting Champagne, as opposed to an effortless bargain', should go to the Champagne region itself and buy direct, she advises. 'The single best-value cuve I found on my travels last November was NV Cuve Pierre Moncuit-Delos Grand Cru. & This blend, based on the 2000 vintage and then just e15 a bottle, was the one I raved about in my recent survey of non-vintage Champagnes,' she says. Robinson advises that those intending to visit Champagne should consult Philippe Boucheron's new travel book, Destination Champagne, which is 'full of practical details on where to stay, eat, buy Champagne and what to do once it is bought'.

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Picnic wines occupy GILES KIME, who fills his hamper with the following: 2003 Coteau Brul Cairanne Cte du Rhne (5.99; Tesco), 'a simple red with fruity, assertive flavours'; 2004 Beaujolais Cuve des Vignerons de Bully (4.99; Waitrose), 'the perfect warm-weather red'; and 2004 Flagstone Fish Hoek (5.99; Oddbins), 'a gregarious partner to food'.

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Seeing as vins de pays make up one-third of all wine produced in France, JOANNA SIMON is surprised that 'some people (especially French people) are still sniffy about them'. She recommends 2004 La Chasse du Pape Syrah (4.99; Sainsbury's); 2004 Grenache Noir, Jeunes Vignes, Domaine Jorel (5.50; Stone, Vine & Sun); and 2003 Cazal Viel Grande Reserve Viognier (7.99; Threshers).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Sauvignon Blanc, according to JANE MACQUITTY, is 'summer in a glass, with its mouth-watering acidity and vibrant, zesty gooseberry and elderflower-charged fruit'. She adds that the 2004 European Sauvignons are 'infinitely more zingy and refreshing than the rich but flabby heatwave-affected 2003s'. Her selection includes 2004 Domaine Naudet Sancerre (9.55; Waitrose); 2004 Muscadet de Svre et Maine (3.99; Waitrose); and 2004 Southbank Estate, The Terraces Sauvignon Blanc (6.99, or 5.99 each when two bottles are bought; Majestic).

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The Independent On Sunday

Published:  23 July, 2008

Three Italian wines get the thumbs up from RICHARD EHRLICH: 2001 Tenute al Sole Negroamaro Cantine Due Palme (4.49; Booths): 'lovely flavours of tart cherries and bright acidity'; 2004 La Prendina Estate Ros (5.99; Marks & Spencer): 'spicy raspberry and strawberry flavours with good depth'; and 2002 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico (down from 9.99 to 6.99 until 5 July; Tesco): 'red-blooded Chianti from a top estate'.

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

With the first part of her Top 100 Summer Wine list, JANE MACQUITTY tells it like it is: 'Chile is on the way up & Argentina is in the doldrums & Australia is still ahead, but facing some surprising competition from California. & France is delivering more good wines at low prices than ever before. & The dark horse of the Iberian peninsula continues to be a wine source to watch.' Her Star White is 2004 French Connection Sauvignon Blanc (5.99, reduced to 3.99 until 7 June; Tesco); her Star Red is 2004 Cuve de Richard, Vin de Pays de l'Aude (3.05; Majestic); best ros is 2004 Casillero del Diablo Shiraz Ros (4.675.99; widely available). As for sweet wines, she goes for 2002 Cranswick Estate Riverina Botrytis Semillon (3.99/375ml; Asda).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Fresh from her valiant performance on University Challenge, JANCIS ROBINSON MW picks her favourite supermarket wines under 5. She was informed that one can find 'some terribly good wines for under 5' by an 'unlikely source': Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, 66th on last year's Sunday Times Rich List. Robinson's choices include 2004 The Naked Grape Riesling (down from 5.99 to 3.49; Sainsbury's); 2004 Domaine de Planterieu Vin de Pays des Ctes de Gascogne (3.99; Waitrose); Louis Chatel Vin de Pays d'Oc (2.99; Booths); and 2004 Isla Negra Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (down from 5.99 to 3.99; Tesco).

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

A warm Harpers welcome to JAMIE GOODE, who opens his Sunday Express account with his favourite wines to drink with tapas. 'Most Spanish wines used to be cheap and nasty, but now they're cheap and nice,' he says. He opts for 2003 Palacio de Bornos Verdejo (5.99; Waitrose), which has 'an appealing, rich, grassy/herb nose, leading to a rich, rounded palate with lovely fruit and a deliciously savoury finish'; 2003 Muruve Roble (5.99; Sainsbury's) has a 'vivid red colour with warm, sweet, spicy fruit and hints of vanilla and tar'; while Hidalgo Manzanilla La Gitana (5.99; Majestic, Waitrose) 'matches brilliantly with tapas', with its 'fresh, slightly salty, nutty character'.

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

VICTORIA MOORE is obsessed with putting together a perfect tasting. At her wine group, the host provides 'extensive maps, tasting charts, translation phrase sheets and even appropriate food and music'. Wine group evenings can take many forms: 'It might be a sweep of Loire. You could begin with a sparkling Vouvray, ideally from Huet, move to a Muscadet made near the mouth of the river and a good match for a seafood starter, then dart upstream for a flinty Sancerre to compare with a Sauvignon de Touraine, sip a tremulous Bourgueil so as to have a red with the main course and end with a sweet Coteaux du Layon, made, like the Vouvray, from Chenin Blanc.'

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

As a judge of the Vins de Pays Top 100 competition, ANTHONY ROSE admits that such wines 'offer the sort of interesting variety of styles that French wine so badly needs at the moment'. His recommendations include the 'ripe, peachy' La Baume Viognier (4.99; Waitrose), and the, er, 'ripe and peachy' 2004 Grande Rserve Viognier (7.99; Threshers). Gascony featured in three of the six white-wine trophies this year, including 2004 Vin de Pays du Comt Tolosan, Rive Haute Sauvignon (5.95; The Wine Society), and 2004 Domaine de Pujalet (3.99; Waitrose). Best Sauvignon Blanc went to 2004 French Connection Sauvignon Blanc (5.99, reduced to 3.99 until 7 June; Tesco), 'which stood out for its clean, aromatic expression of the variety', while the white blend trophy was won by 2004 Vin de Pays de Gascogne (3.99; Booths).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

TIM ATKIN MW's selection of wines for cellaring, includes: 2002 Casa Rivas Reserva Merlot (6.99; Oddbins); 2003 Tim Adams Shiraz (9.99; Tesco); and 2002 Scharzhofberger Riesling Sptlese, Von Hovel (9.99; Waitrose).

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

With just a few weeks before Harpers contributor Jamie Goode takes the reins, JONATHAN BRACEY-GIBBON manages to squeeze in another food match. This week it's wines that work well with pasta. For meaty pasta dishes he recommends 2001 Corte Pavone Rosso di Montalcino (11.95; Great Western Wine). He also picks 2004 San Angelo Pinot Grigio (7.99; Majestic): PG can be a footballer's wife of a wine: fancy name, a hint of the exotic, but little to get excited about.' His final choice is 2001 Marques di Concordia (4.99; Sainsbury's): Concordia is a recent arrival on the scene and has an awful lot of complex, berry-fuelled Crianza class for the money. The fact that Sainsbury's is now offering it for under a fiver is the bottle deal of the year.'

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

After the weekend's heatwave, JONATHAN RAY recommends wines for 'outdoor events'. For 'large gatherings' he chooses 2004 Tanguero Unoaked Chardonnay (4.29; Unwins); for 'grand days out' he selects Chapel Down Century Bottle Fermented Extra Dry NV (11.99; Sainsbury's); while for the curiously monikered 'romantic antics' he suggests Jean Moutardier Ros NV Champagne (17.95; Great Western Wine, Revelstoke Wines, Vincent Gasnier Wine Library).

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

GILES KIME has no such doubts, and recommends a host of his favourite ross, including Ros d'Anjou (2.86; Asda); 2004 Domaine de Pellehaut Ros (5.15; Waitrose); and Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon Ros (5.85; Majestic).

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