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Wetherspoons to hold wine festival

Published:  09 September, 2008

Wetherspoon is to host a 19 day wine festival at which it will showcase a range of wines not previously served in its pubs.

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Wines in the Press: From top wine schools to Tesco

Published:  02 September, 2008

With the summer behind us, so too this week is talk of suitable wines for the warm weather. Jancis Robinson, back from her summer holiday, has a last word of advice on seasonal tipples, but for the most part the wine writers are turning their attentions to other matters. Jonathan Ray gives us his run down of the UK's top wine schools, Victoria Moore has her patience tried out by a good Bordeaux and Anthony Rose indulges in a spot of Tesco's finest.

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Wines in the Press: Cocktail shaking and blog making

Published:  26 August, 2008

Jane MacQuitty has been getting busy with her cocktail shaker, Victoria Moore has been indulging in a spot of wine blogging, and Jonathan Ray has been on a trip to one of Chile's most exciting prospects, the Limarí region. Meanwhile, for those of us still holding out for some late summer sun, Joanna Simon has dug out some perfect picnic picks, whilst Tim Atkin raves about Riesling.

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Foster's reports 88% profit slump

Published:  26 August, 2008

Australian wine giant Foster's Group has reported an 88% slump in profits as sales of its wines continue to fall.

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Wines in the Press: Biodynamic wines and barbeques

Published:  19 August, 2008

Tim Atkin has been firing up the barbeque, Jamie Goode has been getting stuck into biodynamic wines and Andrew Jefford has been seeking out some hidden gems in Romania. Meanwhile, the Nicholas chain of wine stores take a battering from Jane MacQuitty and Anthony Rose investigates the "vineyard virus" of South Africa.

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Wines in the Press: Spirit of the summer

Published:  12 August, 2008

Summer is in full swing this week, with Tim Atkin MW getting into the holiday spirit, Jane MacQuitty going on the hunt for the perfect summer red and Jamie Goode giving his run down of the best wines to enjoy in the warm weather.

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UK wine importers hit by Argentinean strikes

Published:  06 August, 2008

Strikes and road blockades that crippled much of Argentina have impacted UK wine importers, with one major buyer waiting more than four months for a delivery.
TextStrikes and road blockades that crippled much of Argentina have impacted UK wine importers, with one major buyer waiting more than four months for a delivery.

With main roads being blocked, exports from the South American country have been slow to leave the country, despite the strike ending in June.

Protests had been on-and-off since March, when the Argentinean Senate announced plans for a tax hike on grain exports. This led to farmers protesting.

Months of disruption ended after the Senate rejected the proposals in June.

The action has affected the wine industry and some do not expect the situation to improve for another couple of months.

Solano Penalenzi, managing director at Hispa Merchants, is an Argentinean, Chilean and Spanish wine specialist, based in London.

He is still waiting on several containers, with brands Tapiz, NQN, and Finca La Anita and Domingo Hermanos at sea.

With each container consisting of 1,100 boxes, Penalenzi is waiting on more than 14,000 bottles.

"One order that I placed at the end of March - four months ago - is still there," he said. "Supplies have been difficult to get and orders slow, and now there is a backlog."

James Forbes, Wines of Argentina UK director, said that the four month delay was probably more a shipping problem, rather than an issue relating to the strikes.

"There is a backlog, but the people I have spoken to have not been affected. There have been minor delays, but nothing serious."

However, restaurant chain Gaucho said it has been affected by the lack of Argentinean wine making it to UK shores.

Phil Crozier, Gaucho wine buyer, is waiting on three containers. "It has not affected our sales, but it has impacted the number of wines we have available," he said.

Bibendum Wine in London, said it had experienced some delays "but nothing as bad as we thought it would be".

Polly Long, Argento trade marketing manager, said that despite being a "tough and stressful time" the company "had tried to manage the situation as best it could".

by Deven Pamben

This article first appeared in Harpers magazine. Follow this link to subscribe to the publication.

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All Bar One offers "limited edition" rosés of the world

Published:  04 August, 2008

All Bar One, the bar chain owned by Mitchells & Butlers, has started offering a "Limited Edition wines list" to customers, starting this week with a selection of rosé wines.

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Wines in the Press: Of sherry, spittoons and sparkling wines...

Published:  04 August, 2008

Jane MacQuitty sings the praises of fino and manzanilla, Joanna Simon discusses her spittoon technique, Anthony Rose visits Cahors and Tim Atkins gets busy with his wand.

Meanwhile, Andrew Jefford discusses the plan to increase Champagne's grape-growing area, and Susy Atkins is on the pomegranate juice.

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Finca Las Moras adds new premium wine range

Published:  31 July, 2008

Finca Las Moras has launched a new premium wine, the Las Moras Gran Shiraz 3 Valleys.

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The Independent

Published:  24 July, 2008

In these times of credit woe we should take note that Aldi has taken the "discount mantle" from Kwik Save, says Anthony Rose.  "Aldi's low wine prices are all the more remarkable, given that the euro is so strong and the government now takes £1.72 in tax on every bottle of wine," he adds. The 2007 Chardonnay Torrontes Tierra del Sol (£3.49) "would not disgrace the dinner table" while Aldi's flush shoppers might want to try the 2007 Latuilière Sancerre (£8.99) which "offers the requisite herbaceous quality to customers in search of a treat".

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

"Strawberries are the ultimate summertime treat," says Jamie Goode and his wine selections are intended to reflect this. His first choice is "utterly delicious", if slightly predictable - it is the 2007 Shiraz Ros Casillero del Diablo (5.99, widely available). Next up from Britain's best-known wine blogger is the 2006 Carmenere Luis Felipe Edwards (6.19, Tesco), which gains plaudits for its "deliciously intense, dark-fruited" nature. The "blush-coloured" 2007 Syrah Ros from Santa Julia (5.19, Somerfield) also makes an appearance.

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

If we sideline Jane MacQuitty's rant about the stratospheric prices for the "mediocre" 2007 Bordeaux vintage, there remain some interesting recommendations this week. The 2006 Malbec Alamos (5.24, Bibendum) is a "tasty, top dog Argentinian red" while the 2004 Burgundy Meursault Jean-Marc Bouzereau (19.99, selected Tesco stores) is "complete with lots of burnt, buttered toast flavours on the finish".

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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 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 Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Gordon Brown's upcoming budget will bid a stern farewell to 2.99 a bottle wine, Jane MacQuitty laments. "Getting used to paying more for the bottles you'd crack open mid-week without ceremony will be hard," so she suggests stockpiling such bottles ahead of next month's announcement. Tesco's 2007 Argento Shiraz at 2.99 is good for its "fat, supple, spicy" flavours while the 2006 Muscadet La Rgate (Sainsbury's, 2.99) proves to be "delicious, light and lemony".

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Brits love nothing more than wiling away the hours talking about the weather and Susy Atkins is no different, although her column this week gives the subject an important vinous spin. "It is just plain wrong to drink heavy, blockbuster reds at this time of year," she says. We should curtail drinking big reds to "winter celebrations" and instead opt for "soft, juicy, smooth reds" in the early summer. Pinot Noir is an obvious choice, Atkins continues, citing the 2005 Pinot Noir Martinborough Vineyards (19.95, Harrods) for its "super-smooth texture and ripe, plush red-berry fruit with a subtle hint of chocolate".

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Variety is the spice of life, or so Victoria Moore thinks. "This is why I am suggesting a spring clean of your vinous buying habits," she reasons. We should all abolish wines from our shopping lists if, upon sipping them, "you still feel the dim, comfort-blanket recognition of something you once loved but now fail to respond to". For broadening your drinking horizons, says Moore, try the 2007 Vergelegen Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch (7.49, Majestic) for its "light-sabre intensity" and the 2005 Valpolicella Ripasso (6.12, Tesco). One word of warning from the Guardian critic this week, however: avoid 2007 Bordeaux Chteau de Sours Ros (8.49, Majestic) at all costs.

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

Asparagus can be a "murder" to match with wine, says Jamie Goode, but the trick is to opt for "rich grassy whites" which excel with the "delicious seasonal delicacy'. The 2006 Sauvignon Blanc Sacred Hill Malborough (8.19, Morrisons) merits a mention for its "intense sophistication" while the 2006 Viognier Yalumba (9.99, Waitrose) has "peach and lemon" aromas. Goode also recommends a curve ball in the form of 2006 Syrah Ros Fetzer Valley (6.49, Thresher).

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