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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

ANTHONY ROSE takes on two of the wine world's heavyweights this week, saying: 'Hugh Johnson and Robert Parker may be the twin colossi of wine writing, but as a weighty biography of one [The Emperor of Wine, by Elin McCoy] and the other's characteristically fine new book [Wine: A Life Uncorked, by Hugh Johnson] make clear, they're poles apart.' Rose is a fan of Johnson's prose, which he describes as 'a window on mouthwatering feasts and intriguing personalities'. Parker is more about numbers, however, and Rose suggests, 'Could it be that the 100-point system for rating wines was in fact Parker's way of compensating for his own lack of vocabulary in the face of Johnsonian eloquence?' For good wine under a tenner, Rose suggests 2004 La Toledana Gavi, Villa Lanata (7.99; Majestic).

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Easy-drinking whites are the order of the day, says GILES KIME. He opts for 2004 Sainsbury's Classic Selection Muscadet (4.99): 'Even those with a deep-seated prejudice against Muscadet would find it hard to deny the lightly honeyed charms of this thirst-quenching white.' Next up is 2004 Lizards of Oz Reserve Viognier (5.97; Asda), 'a crisp white from the Clare Valley with an apricot-like freshness'. Finally, he picks 2003 Gavi Madonnina Araldica (6.99; Waitrose), a 'delightful wine that is vibrant and citrussy without being overpowering'.

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Being a 'thoroughly nasty piece of work at heart', VICTORIA MOORE is cynical about branded supermarket wines. However, she is a big fan of 2004 Tesco Finest Gavi (5.99), 'a delightful wine' that 'feels like a river pebble that has been smoothed and rounded by the flow of water'. Another supermarket number that comes up trumps is 2003 Sainsbury's Classic Selection Alsace Gewurztraminer Cave de Turckheim (6.99), which displays lychees 'so clearly you can almost feel your tongue slipping over their eyeball-like white flesh'.

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A flavour of the nation

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Italian Trade Commission (ICE) will hold a UK trade tasting for the first time in eight years on Wednesday. With no generic body, Italian tastings in the UK have focused on single Italian regions that wanted to promote their wines, but now ICE has united more than 60 producers from the north, south and islands. Every producer will send a representative, and there will be a tasting in Dublin two days before the London event.

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The Interview: Richard Walton-Allen, Head Chef, Harvey Nichols, Leeds

Published:  23 July, 2008

Harvey Nichols' first store outside London was opened in the historic Victoria Quarter of Leeds in 1996. The store has five floors with a stylish 85-cover caf and bar on the fourth floor. Three days a week, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it is open for dinner until 10pm. Close to the dining area is the wine shop run by Michael Dilworth. He and head chef Richard Walton-Allen work closely together on the restaurant's wine list, which is taken from the group's master list and compiled by Harvey Nick's overall head wine buyer, Rob Graves. Richard, a 36-year-old Yorkshireman, was part of the opening brigade at Sir Terence Conran's huge 300-cover Quaglino's restaurant in London's St James's. He also worked at the esoteric Swedish restaurant Anna's Place in north London and in Melbourne, Australia. He has been head chef at Harvey Nichols in Leeds for eight years.
Major drinks suppliers: Playford Ros, Bibendum, Percy Fox, Enotria, Cellar Trends, Coe Vintners

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The Interview: Gianpiero Colucci, Manager, Spaghetti House, Marble Arch branch

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Marble Arch branch is the most recent Spaghetti House restaurant to open (in mid-2005) and the first trialling a more modern look. Spaghetti House has nine venues in London, the first of which opened in 1955.
A native of Bari in Puglia, Gianpiero Colucci worked at Pescatori in London and at the Cranbourn Street branch of Spaghetti House before becoming one of the chain's youngest restaurant managers. This branch was a finalist in the Best Italian Restaurant category of The Pizza Pasta & Italian Food Industry Awards 2006 (www.papa.org.uk).
Suppliers include Berkmann, Vinum
and Alivini.

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The Interview - Angela Hayward and Paul Raymonde, directors, AP Vino

Published:  23 July, 2008

Angela Hayward and Paul Raymonde met in 2002, and discovered that they shared a passion for Italian wines. The couple launched AP Vino in 2004 with input from Angela's stepfather, Fausto Pesci, who worked for many years as a restaurateur, Italian wine consultant, and major importer of Italian wine into Spain and Germany. Last month, AP Vino launched a consumer website, D'Vino, which is also home to The Wine Club of Italy, a scheme that offers mixed cases of wines complete with full tasting notes. AP Vino's portfolio lists 58 wines from 12 producers. Exclusive agencies include La Scolca in Gavi (selected wines), Il Carpino in Friuli, Tenuta di Riseccoli in Greve, and Pinino in Montalcino. A former property developer in Italy, Raymonde is also a well-known cartoonist, whose works have appeared in Punch and Private Eye, among other publications.

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MMD in Piedmont

Published:  23 July, 2008

MMD has taken on the UK agency for Pio Cesare, a family-run producer of Piedmont wines.
Pio Cesare is managed by fourth generation, Pio Boffa, who commented: With our 52 hectares of vineyards in Barolo and Barbaresco, we embrace both traditional and more modern winemaking and also produce a range of single-vineyard wines from Barolo and Barbaresco.' A full range of Pio Cesare wines is now available from MMD, including Gavi, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo d'Alba, Barolo and Barbaresco.

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Booting up

Published:  23 July, 2008

Italy was the only European country that enjoyed an increase in sales of wine to the UK in 2004 (AC Nielsen), so the mood should be upbeat as 44 leading Italian importers gather at Lord's Cricket Ground for the seventh Definitive Italian Tasting, instigated by the Italian Wines Committee of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association and organised by Hunt & Coady.

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THE INTERVIEW - MICHELE ZORZI

Published:  23 July, 2008

Michele Zorzi, Matre D', Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Interview: Josie Butchart

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THE ITALIAN FORUM

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Definitive Italian Wine Tasting has provided a long-overdue platform for commercially available, mid-priced Italian wines in the UK. Harpers casts an eye over the producers and wines helping to make this year's event the biggest and brightest yet

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UPPING THE CHIANTI

Published:  23 July, 2008

In January and February, a series of seminars and tastings was held to promote Italian wines. Neil Beckett reports from Tuscany on the new-found power of the region's big three consorzi.

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LIBERTY BECOMES SOLE AGENT FOR AVIGNONESI

Published:  23 July, 2008
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CONSORZIO URGES PRICE CUT FOR 1998 BRUNELLOS

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Neil Beckett

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SUPPORT FOR TOSCANA DOC WAVERS

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jo Burzynska

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Italy says no to GMO

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jo Burzynska

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Fling or real thing?

Published:  18 January, 2007

As one year slides not particularly memorably into another, Italians are looking back on an age, now clearly on the wane, when the so-called vitigni migliorativi' (improving vine varieties) were something no self-respecting wine could be seen without in polite society.

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Liberty demands change over screwcap attitudes

Published:  18 January, 2007

Dear Minister,
I am writing to you regarding an issue that is having an adverse effect on the sales and positive image of Italian wine.

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The Analyst

Published:  18 January, 2007

It can't be easy living up to the Chef of the [20th] Century' accolade applied to Jol Robuchon by Gault Millau.

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The Analyst - by Neil Beckett

Published:  18 January, 2007

The Bell at Skenfrith (www.thebellatskenfrith.co.uk) has long been known to aficionados, but has only recently started to win the wider recognition it richly deserves, earlier this month beating one of London's best hotel restaurants to win the 2006 Gosset Award for the best Champagne list in the UK.

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