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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Chardonnay has become a victim of its own success but a couple of recent experiences have proved that it doesn't have to be as universally yawn-inducing as its detractors claim', says ANTHONY ROSE. He recommends Domaine Jomain's 2004 Puligny Montrachet (17.99; Majestic) and Errazuriz's 2005 Wild Ferment Chardonnay (9.99; Stone, Vine & Sun).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

They may be deeply unfashionable in the UK, but Tim Atkin MW is an unashamed fan of sweet wines, and given the choice, he says, would forego a dessert if one was on offer.
"Given the amount of work that goes into making them (especially in the vineyard, where grapes are sometimes picked individually), good dessert wines are unbelievably cheap," he says. "Even the finest bottles of Sauternes aren't expensive compared with other world-class wines."
Atkin points out just how diverse stickies are: "They range from 5.5% to 20% alcohol; they can be unoaked, sparkling or still, fortified or unfortified, and vary in colour from white to amber to purple. The only thing they have in common is residual sugar, but this can be anything between 70g and 700g."
His recommendations include 2004 Monbazillac, Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure (9.95, H&H Bancroft); 2007 Tempus Two Moscato (7.99, Tesco); and 2005 Coteaux du Layon Beaulieu, Slection des Grains Nobles L'Anclaie, Chteau de Pierre Bise (13.95/50cl, Lea & Sandeman).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Ignore 2006 Burgundy and lavish all your attention on Australian Pinot Noir, says Jane Macquitty. However this was not always her view, as she admitted "how typically presumptuous of the Aussies, I thought, to pick Pinot Noir as one of their six regional heroes". But on tasting 20 of the featured wines in this category at the Australia Day tasting, MacQuitty begrudgingly says she was "wrong, wrong, wrong". Her recommendations include the "classic" 2006 Ninth Island Pinot Noir (,9.99, Waitrose) and the 2006 Pirie South Pinot Noir (9.99, Majestic) for its spice. Jeffrey Grosset's 2006 Adelaide Hills (26.95, Liberty) is also "deliciously smoky".

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JOANNA SIMON looks at Fairtrade wines, pointing out that Fairtrade Fortnight starts on Monday 26 February. The choice of wines has grown since last year in some of the big retailers, including Marks & Spencer, Thresher and the Co-Op. She directs readers to 2006 Los Robles Carmenre (4.99; Asda, Sainsbury's, Waitrose); 2006 Co-Op Fairtrade Argentine Torrontes/Chardonnay (3.19; Co-Op); and 2006 Fairtrade Curico Valley Shiraz (5.49; Marks & Spencer).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jancis Robinson discusses the banning of the name Tocai Friulano from wine labels exported from the Italian region of Friuli in the north-east. The reason? Because of its similarity to Tocai Friulano (Tokay) - a "legendary golden dessert wine of north-east Hungary". So name changes aside, what does the Italian grape variety have to offer, she asks. The 2006 Canus Friulano Colli Orientali Del Friuli has a "hint of smokiness" while the 2006 Schiopetto Tocai Friulano Collio is "creamy and flattering in texture" with "wonderfully explosive fruit".

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

There is a certain amount of hyperbole utilised in the industry to weigh up vintages from different years, says Tim Atkin. However, one important factor to bear in mind is that "you should buy from top producers in lesser years and lesser producers in top years". This, he continues, allows purchasers to skip the pricey great vintages' and grab themselves a bit of a bargain in the process. Atkin adds this approach makes even more sense given he would "take issue with the general perception of what constitutes a great vintage anyway". Several bottles fit the bill of diamonds in the rough with his recommendations including a 2002 Era Costana Rioja Reserva (8.99, Sainsbury's) and a 2002 Vajra Barolo, Le Albe (27.95, Liberty Wines).

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

What wine would most UK sommeliers like to drink? This has been the question lingering on Joanna Simon's lips over the past seven days. There was a clear - if unexpected - winner, she says. Riesling is the snifter of choice for 20 and 30-something sommeliers winning out over classics such as Burgundy and Pinot Noir. Simon states she should not have been so surprised given her knowledge "that the UK is almost the only country still to be largely resistant to the allure of both the Riesling grape and German wines". Buyers would do well to investigate the 2006 Tim Adams Clare Valley Riesling (7.99, Tesco), she says, adding "perhaps it's time to jettison your prejudices and see what you're missing".

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Against a background of widespread admiration for New Zealand's wines, JANCIS ROBINSON MW takes a sideswipe at New Zealand Chardonnay. She observes that, while the typical New Zealand Chardonnay does show prominent acidity, it is too rarely accompanied by really interesting flavours'.
Robinson accepts, though, that there are some glorious exceptions, such as those produced by Michael Brajkovich MW at Kumeu River on the outskirts of Auckland. She also admits that some of the Hawkes Bay Chardonnays have greater subtlety than the norm.
The good news, says Robinson, is that the few growers who are putting new Chardonnay plants into the ground are choosing the more interesting, so-called Dijon' clones.

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Tim Atkin's offensive on Pinot Grigio continues in his weekly column. "I've been conducting a none-too-subtle, one-man campaign against this innocuous but generally palate-numbing Italian white for more than two years now." But sales continue to boom, he moans, so it is with renewed vigour that he suggests a number of "infinitely superior varieties" as alternatives. A lavish option would be the 2005 Le Mal Hermitage Blanc (122, 14.5%, Fine & Rare) cited by Atkins as one of the best whites he has tried in the last five years. For the more frugal amongst you the 2006 Tahbilk Marsanne, Nagambie Lakes (9.99, Wine Rack) may fit the bill.

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Victoria Moore feels that wine writers often hit sticky ground when trying to describe sweet wines. She argues "we have such a paucity of words that we are forced to fall back on overstretched compounds". This shouldn't put off the sweet toothed amongst you, however, with a fine selection available on the high street. Moore points to the 2004 Chteau Jolys Cuve Jean (9.99, Waitrose) for its "gently honeyed" perfumes and Tesco Finest Pedro, Ximenez (4.99, Tesco) which is "good value" but for "sugar hounds only".

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Sales of the Douro Valley's new wave of table wines have increased by 43% in the last year, Jonathan Ray comments. Established port houses such as Quinta de la Rosa, Quinta do Noval, Symington Family Estates and Real Companhia Velha are a good place to start, he says. Douro wines represent "exceptional value" and "burst with character, intensity and freshness". Ray concludes that with many supermarkets stocking Douro table wines for under a fiver, it is not without reason the area is called "the Valley of Gold".

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

Full-bodied wines for English food is JAMIE GOODE's mission this week. His choices are 2003 Chteau de Targ Saumur-Champigny Les Truffeaux (7.49, Majestic); 2002 Weinert Malbec, Argentina (7.49, Sainsbury's); 2005 Tesco Finest Old Vines Garnacha, Campo de Borja, Spain (5.99, Tesco); 2006 Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough (7.99, Waitrose) and 2005 Fiano di Avellino dei Feudi di Santa Gregorio, Campania (9.99, Waitrose). No English wines?

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

With Valentine's Day lurking around the corner, Jane MacQuitty focuses on pink champagne and tries to cover all bases whatever the budget. Avoid the "evil and sweaty" 2007 Darling Sauvignon Blanc (4.99, Tesco), she pleads and "all those sickly chocolate and champagne combos" while you're at it. Instead, the frugal amongst us should opt for Prosecco Raboso, (5.49, Tesco) while the Heidsieck Monopole Brut Ros Top Champagne, (19.99, Tesco) is "surprisingly good". Those lotharios with a slightly bigger budget are advised to seek out the 2002 Louis Roederer Brut Vintage Ros (54.95, Harrods.)

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jancis Robinson considers diversification in New Zealand's North and South islands to avoid the trap of becoming "a one-trick pony" with an over reliance on Sauvignon Blanc. The marked shift to Pinot Noir has already begun and there are a number of other interesting examples cropping up also, she says. The 2007 Marlborough, Astrolabe Riesling retails for around 13 a bottle in the UK and is a good example of "today's New Zealand Rieslings increasingly seem to be modelled on Australia's bone dry Clare Valley examples". Robinson also picks out the 2007 Pinot Gris Wairarapa, Gladstone Vineyard (11, Great Western Wine) for its Alsace weight. "All in all, New Zealand whites are much more varied than they used to be," she concludes.

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

"Discount the cheapie" at your own peril is the message from Victoria Moore this week. The subject is house wines and she feels "a bottle that's tasty and not too particularis a far more useful buy than anything extreme". As such, there are a couple of interesting highlights that emerge. Moore embraces a 2005 Riesling, Peter Lehman Eden Valley (7.99, Noel Young) for its "elusive" quality and 2006 a Campo de Borja, Vineyard X Garancha (4.99, Thresher) which offers "outrageous" flavour for the price point.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Founder of Wine Relief, JANCIS ROBINSON MW, takes the opportunity to promote the cause in this week's column. She says that we can [and presumably should] buy wine to solve some of the world's mainfold injustices'.
She believes that M&S, Majestic and Waitrose have the most sophisticated Wine Relief selections on offer, while Tesco has the widest range, starting at 1.27 for a bottle of Lambrini (on which the donation to Wine Relief would be 12.7p).
Robinson's recommendations include 2006 Eaglevlei Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape (5.49; Sainsbury's) made by Englishman Tony Hindhaugh.

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Nouveau Beaujolais reaches Tim Atkin's attention this week. The "quintessential young wine's" fall from grace has seen it go from "front page news" in the mid-Eighties to a current "non-event" in the UK. The problem with Nouveau stemmed from the fact that it undermined the Beaujolais reputation as a whole, he argues. And while Atkin concedes "there's nothing wrong with Nouveau" it is the "hilly area north of Lyon" that in fact produces the best wines. There are ten crus but it is usually easier to split these into three groups, he says. These comprise of: "The light, fragrant ones (Chiroubles and St Amour), the middle-weight ones (Cte de Brouilly, Chnas, Brouilly, Fleurie, Rgni) and the more serious ones (Julinas, Morgon and Moulin Vent)." His recommendations include a 2006 Fleurie, Domaine de la Madone (11.99, Thorman Hunt) for its "crunchy, summer-pudding-like" nature and a "complex and structured" 2006 Morgon, Marcel Lapierre (14.73, Bibendum).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jancis Robinson's musings focus on Davos and a tasting she recently organised there. Her brief was "to choose some notable wines from countries or regions with a tradition of mining". In between visits from the president of Israel and Forbes magazine's seventh most powerful woman in the world, she even found time to identify the best of the bunch. 2001 Vergelegen Cabernet Sauvignon (12.99, buywineonline.co.uk) fared well - particularly notable as the only South African red at the tasting and also the least expensive. The tasting group's favourite and Jancis' third choice wine was the 2001 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River (43, winesearcher.com).

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Like his contemporary at The Observer, Anthony Rose has also picked up on Anpaa's recent legal case - describing France's alcohol policy as a result of the draconian 1991 Evin Law. He continues: "It does seem odd that myopia and sanctimony should coexist in a nation synonymous with the production and consumption of many of the great wines of the world." Not to be discouraged though he selects the 2006 Porta Chardonnay (5.99, Threshers), the 2006 Gavi Cristina Ascheri (9.99, Sainsbury's) and the 2004 Domaine des Bosquets, Gigondas (14.95, Jeroboams).

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Poor VICTORIA MOORE is not a happy journalist, complaining that the samples she had to try this week were not all that nice'. As a consequence she decides to use two of her four recommendation slots to list wines not to buy'. One wine she thinks is quite nice isdoes give the thumbs up to is 2004 Bastide Saint Vincent Vacqueyras Pavane (10.75; Berry Bros & Rudd).

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