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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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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Last week Anthony Rose organised a themed wine tasting for a select group of Independent hacks at the stipulation of his magazine editor. Using the game of options - where teams of participants have to answer multiple-choice questions on the wines to remain in the tasting - was, he said, "the only way of holding the attention of a bunch of rowdy journalists". Each round Rose quizzed the teams on two bottles of wine, which were linked by factors such as grape type and price. The chief sub at the newspaper spotted the link between the 2005 Trimbach Riesling (8, The Wine Society) and 2001 Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling (11.99, Selfridges). Rose said the former had a "dry and youthful" character while the latter displayed the "kerosene undertone of age". And who were the overall winners? The magazine editor's team, funnily enough.

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Anthony Rose questions whether wine under the 10 mark is really California's strongest suit, following the recent annual California wine tasting in London. While he understands why the region feels the need to show it can compete at the everyday price point with other new world regions, he is unconvinced that this is what California does best. "The under a tenner price point doesn't begin to reflect the innovation, diversity and quality of today's thriving California wine industry," he complains. While there are some good stalwarts in the under 10 bracket, such as Ravenswood's Lodi Zinfandel, and the " tropical, grapefruity" Bonterra organic 2006 Sauvignon Blanc, Rose believes the reality is that you need to pay more for quality. He recommends Cline's "spicy, rich" 2005 Ancient Vines Mourvedre, Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay (24.50, Berry Bros), Joseph Phelps "spicy, rich, blackberryish" Le Mistral (27.50, Waitrose) and Calera's "elegant" Central Coast Pinot Noir, (16.99 Waitrose).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Many UK consumers make a beeline for supermarket reds when they think South African but it is in the white wine aisles where this country is really accelerating, says Jancis Robinson MW. It is "one of the very few non-European wine producing countries with an outstanding track record for white wine production," she argues. Chenin Blanc is the country's most planted variety and not without good reason, Robinson feels, adding that while "South Africa's best reds are admirable" the "lesser ones can taste strangely earthy". On a recent tasting trip, the MW awarded eight South African wines more than 17 out of 20 points representing a "very good mark" on her sliding scale. Robinson's white recommendations with approximate retail prices include; the 2006 FMC Chenin Blanc, Ken Foster, Stellenbosch (17); the 2006 Chardonnay Reserve, Vergelegen, Stellenbosch (13); the 2006 Chardonnay, Oak Valley, Elgin (15) and the 2006 Vergelegen White, Stellenbosch (22).

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Joanna Simon's Sauce column broaches the topic of Chilean wine. Despite sales of the country's wine products booming, it was not the hot favourites that impressed at last month's Wines of Chile Awards in Santiago. Simon said the event where she judged "left producers reeling - not because the results were poor, but because they were not what was expected". No trophies or gold medals were given to Chardonnay, Simon continued, with the 2007 Alta Tierra winning out as the top Sauvignon regardless of its production in the Elqui Valley - "an area that didn't even grow grapes for wine until 2000". Her top picks include the 2007 Viognier, Anakena (8.49, Thresher) for its "seductive perfumes" and a 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Luis Felipe Edwards (5.99 Tesco).

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Your choice of glassware can enhance your wine selection immeasurably, Victoria Moore explains. And while being pernickety on this point will often mean you attract odd looks it is an important distinction to make, she continues. "Wine tastes better out of glasses that taper slightly at the rim" as "the tapering traps more of the aromas," Moore explains. And what has she being cracking open from the cellar this week? The 2005 Domaine du Colombier Chinon (Sainsbury's, 5.49) is commendable for its "gentle fragrance of red berries" while the 2006 Gavi Cristina Ascheri (Sainsbury's, 9.99) needs "a half-decent glass to reap the full benefit of this streamlined lemon- and grapefruit pith-scented Piedmont white".

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Joanna Simon debates the merits of Beaujolais despite her belief that many leave it to one side at this time of year. Suited to "fish, fowl or meat", she mentions it is "the bottles that don't mention the B-word that are the best the region produces". And while we may be familiar with Fleurie, Brouilly and Morgon, it is instead worth investigating the likes of Chnas, Julinas and Chiroubles. She picks out the 2006 Julinas, Domaine du Clos du Fief, (9.99, Wheeler Cellars) and 2005 Chnas, Bernard Sant, (8.50, Stone, Vine & Sun) as good options.

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

TIM ATKIN MW has a 10ft hole in the middle of his dining room: he is having a wine cellar built.
You don't have to spend a fortune to start a modest wine collection,' he says, and recommends four reds at under 10, including: 2004 Marques de Casa Concha Merlot (7.99; Sainsbury's); 2004 Domaine de Fontsque, Corbires (8.99; Marks & Spencer); and 2005 Peter Lehmann Tempranillo, Barossa Valley (7.99; Waitrose).

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

To mark The Independent's retro issue, Anthony Rose is in nostalgia mode. He has managed to overcome his initial thoughts about Sherry, that it was "fit only for vicars, aunts and schoolmasters", and now realises that when it's chilled, and accompanied by salted almonds or olives, a good fino or manzanilla is "hard to beat".
Rose tries hard, but can't muster much enthusiasm for the Seventies, "an era of such cheerless sugar water as Blue Nun Liebfraumilch, not forgetting the awful Hirondelle, rustic Bulls Blood, confected pink Anjou ros, bland Piat d'Or and the pretensions of Mouton Cadet.
Turning his attention to the New World, his selections include 2005 Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel (8.99; Majestic, Oddbins, Waitrose); Jacob's Creek Chardonnay (5.95; widely available); and 2007 Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (5.99, down from 7.49; Morrisons, Sainsbury's).

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