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The Independent On Sunday

Published:  23 July, 2008

A trio of picks from RICHARD EHRLICH. First up is 2003 Stella Bella Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc (40.79 for six bottles, down from 51.24; Sainsbury's), a 'great wine with Riesling-like lime intensity. A steal.' Next is 2004 Terre da Vino Roero Arneis (5.99, or 5.09 each when two are bought; Majestic), 'a fresh, citrussy and nutty white from a distinguished producer of Barolo'. His final choice is for 2004 Dourthe No.1 Sauvignon Blanc (4.99; Waitrose).

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

VICTORIA MOORE chooses a brace of white Burgundies. The first, 2002 Domaine des Chazelles Vir-Cless Cuve Vieilles Vignes (10.75; Stone, Vine & Sun), 'smells of honeyed blossom and has an opulent mouthfeel with a fresh acidity'. The second, 2004 Mcon-Fuiss Vieilles Vignes (10.99; Majestic), is, Moore adds curiously, 'more leonine in nature'.

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

There's a plea from JOANNA SIMON for us Brits to get stuck into Spanish ross. And while ros sales in the UK are soaring (one in every 20 bottles sold in the off-trade is a ros double the figure in the late 1990s), the Spanish drink far more. Simon's favourites include 2004 Torresoto Ros (4.99; M&S), 2004 Otto Bestu (6.95; Great Western Wines) and 2004 Vineyard X Garnacha Ros (3.49, or 2.33 each when three are bought; Thresher).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Turn up unannounced at any of the world's great wineries and, more often than not, as a friend of TIM ATKIN MW can testify, you will be greeted with a polite 'Non, Monsieur'. Atkin understands their point: 'If the likes of Ptrus, Vega Sicilia or Domaine de la Romane-Conti gave tastings to every passing wine lover, they'd run out of booze in weeks.'

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

JONATHAN RAY rekindles his childhood with a visit to Jim Blanchard's hop farm in Oxfordshire. Ray grew up in a house surrounded by hop gardens, and he learns that there is an emerging trend towards single-hop-variety beers. Beer Academy director Rupert Ponsonby tells him that Goldings hops are 'akin to Chardonnay from Chablis, being light, austere, citrussy and delicate', while the Fuggle is 'earthy and spicy like a Rhne Syrah'. Challenger and Northdown offer 'crisp, clean, lime flavours', like Loire Sauvignon, while First Gold is similar to Viognier.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

The golden triangle of Western Cape wine areas (Stellenbosch, Paarl and Constantia) is increasing all the time, writes ANDREW JEFFORD. Areas such as Elim and Darling are emerging as good cool-climate spots, while Swartland, with its 'tempered warmth', is suitable for Rhne varieties. His recommendations include 2004 Chenin Blanc, Tierhoek, Piekenerskloof (9.95; The Wine Society); 2004 Sauvignon Blanc, Groote Post, Darling Hills (8.49; Handford of Holland, www.sawinesonline.co.uk); and 2002 Fairview Jakkalsfontein Shiraz (13.54; Liberty Wines).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Spirits companies are wise to the fact that whisky sales are on the slide, but two efforts to modernise the category are met with disdain by JANE MacQUITTY: 'Trying to pass off whisky as an entirely different spirit, hoping to woo a new young audience, is a daft idea and bound to end in tears.'

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

GILES KIME's favourite sparkling ross include Tesco (14.99), Billecart-Salmon (34.95; Berry Bros & Rudd) and Krug (160; Harrods).

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

JAMIE GOODE's selection includes 2002 Herrick Syrah (5.19; Budgen, Waitrose), 2004 Devil's Rock Pinot Grigio (4.79; Waitrose, Somerfield) and 2004 Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio (7.99; Majestic).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JANCIS ROBINSON MW considers ever-increasing alcohol levels. 'I remember red Bordeaux with labels stating 10.5 and 11% alcohol unashamedly, but nowadays percentages of less than 13 are becoming a rarity, even in the temperate climate of Bordeaux,' she says. Indeed, in a desperate effort to get his name in the pages of Private Eye, Santa Barbara winemaker Bob Lindquist recently proclaimed that '15 is the new 14'. Robinson adds that a study of average alcohol levels in Napa Valley Cabernets shows that in the early 1970s the wines averaged about 13%, while in 2001 the average was 15.1%. That's the average. And with an EU ruling preventing 15+% wines being imported, unless a bilateral wine agreement has been enacted, as in the case of Chile and South Africa, those wines will never reach UK shores.

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JOANNA SIMON says we are surprisingly wary of sweet wines: 'Blame it on residual snobbery and fear of appearing naff'. She recommends 2001 Chteau Dauphin Rondillon Cuve d'Or (7.95/375ml; Vine Trail), 2003 Vouvray Moelleux Lemaire (9.95; Stone, Vine & Sun) and 2004 Joostenburg Chenin Blanc Noble Late Harvest (10.50/375ml; Berry Bros & Rudd).

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Margaret River is the region to look for if you're inclined to spend a little more than average on a bottle of wine, says VICTORIA MOORE. She recommends 2004 Evans & Tate Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc (5.99; Asda), 2001 Xanadu Semillon (10.49; Oddbins) and 2002 Fermoy Estate Merlot (13.50; Great Western Wine).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Carmenre grape is much-maligned, according to JANE MacQUITTY, and unfairly so, in her opinion: 'The Chileans may not have made a world-class Carmenre to date, but I don't think they've made a truly top-drawer Cabernet or Syrah either. In any case, most of Carmenre's problems can be eradicated with good vineyard management, including grafting the grape on to hardy, bug-resistant American rootstock. Hillside plantings, partial irrigation and hard pruning all help to eradicate those weedy flavours and get the best from this grape.'

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

With Women's Equality Day on Friday, ANTHONY ROSE shares his thoughts on the impact women have made in the wine trade. While the UK has plenty of female wine writers, US magazines such as Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate are 'alpha-male-dominated'. Rose admits that women are often better tasters than men but refuses to accept the view of Batrice Ondet at Chteau Chauvin that their wines taste different: 'It's as much a leap of faith to ascribe feminine characteristics to wine made by women as to suggest that only men make strong, muscular wines. The strongest wines I know are the monster Zinfandels made by Helen Turley in California, while some of the most elegant and delicate Mosel Rieslings and Hunter Semillons are man-made.'

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

For most people, Argentina conjures up images of gauchos, horses, sizzling steaks and sexy scenery, 'but the chances of anyone including wine in the list are slim', says JOANNA SIMON. 'That's because the average British view of Argentina's wine is as negative as the view of neighbouring Chile's wine is positive,' she says. Argentina's wines deserve a much better rating, according to Simon, and punters should focus first on 'Argentina's answer to fashionable Shiraz/Syrah': the full-bodied ripe wines being made from Malbec. She recommends 2003 Clos de Los Siete (9.9910.99; Majestic, Oddbins) and 2003 La Remonta Malbec (5.99; Booths).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

ANDREW JEFFORD profiles Chteau Faugres, a producer that has gone from being a 'little minnow' to a 'legend of the future' (according to Robert Parker) in little more than a decade. In 1987, every drop of Faugres was 'sold in bulk to a single merchant', but then Michel Rolland got on board and a 'low-acid, ripe and softly extracted' wine was created. This year, Faugres was sold to Swiss perfume entrepreneur Silvio Denz, who has no plans to change the flavour profile: 'Parker likes heavier wines, more extracted wines, and those kind of wines are to my taste, too.'

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

ANTHONY ROSE is happy to dispel the old line about Australian wines 'all tasting the same'. At an Australian Wine Club tasting, he was hugely impressed with the line-up. Highlights included 2002 Basket Press Shiraz (23.99), which ages 'into a majestic Hermitage-like red'; 2004 Poverty Hill Riesling (9.99), which is 'in the keroseney mould'; and Peter Lehmann's 1998 Stonewell Shiraz (30), which displays 'immensely rich liquorice spice and bittersweet chocolate characters'.

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

It's wines for sunsets, not salads or sandwiches, forJAMIE GOODE this week. Top 'sundowners' range from Plymouth Classic Fruit Cup (12.99; Sainsbury's) to Asda Ros d'Anjou (2.81),best decanted into a jug with ice cubes.

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The Independent On Sunday

Published:  23 July, 2008

RICHARD EHRLICH is another fan of La Basca Uvas Blancas (4.99), M&S's 'tangy' mix of Verdejo and Viura by Telmo Rodriguez. Other summer wines he likes include: 2004 Sterling Rocks Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc (4.99; Asda) and 2004 Mas Las Cabes Muscat Sec (6.49; Majestic).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Though TIM ATKIN MW is 'more of a Burgundy than a claret man', he reckons that 'Margaux is consistently the most elegant of the first growths'. Atkin is not 'entirely convinced by the 2003 Margaux, which seems atypically tannic and overblown to me, especially at 2,300 a case, but the much cheaper 2004 vintage (950, available en primeur from Farr Vintners) is delicious. The 2004 Pavillon Rouge [Margaux' second wine] is also a steal at 210, but if I had the money I'd be tempted by the sublime 1990 (a mere 3,700 a case). Tasting this at the chteau, I very nearly fainted.'

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