Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Catherine Monahan, Clink! Wines comment

Published:  27 November, 2009

As the trade collectively winces from the losses, we cannot help but ask: What will the state of the off-licence business be over time? What impact will Thresher's demise have on the industry? Paradoxically, in the fullness of time, could this disaster be a good thing for the industry?


Lidl leads the way on Champagne deals

Published:  25 November, 2009


A Champagne price war looks set to break out pre-Christmas, with Lidl the first supermarket to make a sub-£10 offer.


The German discount chain ha



Morrisons slashes price of Champagne

Published:  19 November, 2009

Morrisons is cutting the cost of some Champagnes to below half price, including Bollinger at £17.95.


Waitrose´s Howard-Sneyd warns of "catastrophic" future

Published:  13 November, 2009

The future of wine retailing in the UK is at a crossroads and if it follows the wrong path it could be "catastrophic" for the industry, warned Waitrose´s Justin Howard-Sneyd speaking at today´s Wine Future 09 in Rioja.


Waitrose sweeps convenience market

Published:  25 September, 2009

UK supermarket chain Waitrose is poised to move into the convenience market pinned on new deals with Welcome Break and Boots and in a move that could double the number of its grocery stores.


Waitrose buyers invite customers on trips

Published:  16 September, 2009

Waitrose wine buyers plan to take consumers on organised wine and gourmet tours in an attempt to educate them about their wine range.


Wines in the press - September 11-13

Published:  15 September, 2009


For a taste of "summer and winter in a single gulp", Victoria Moore suggests Pineau des Charentes, because "it has the combination of fresh harvest fruit and throat-burning Cognac".


Wines in the press - September 4-6

Published:  08 September, 2009



Victoria Moore is disputing the latest research that says we have fallen out of love with Gallic wine now it has dropped to fourth place in the league tables of the wine we drink.


Moore's opinion is that much of the wine we drink is supplied by the top ten brands and says "comparing Blossom Hill to, say, a good £5 Côtes du Rhône is like comparing a turkey twizzler to my mum's shepherd's pie".


She asked market analysts AC Neilsen to tell her what would happen to the league table if they discounted sales of the leading 10 brands.


The result was that France came out on top, with Italy a close second Australia third, South Africa fourth, and the US a lagging fifth.


Moore says "this tells me that wine lovers are still entranced by French wine".



Jonathan Ray says he feels he is getting old because his godchildren have grown up "so blindingly fast".


He reminisces to when he was working at Berrys and was able to make use of the staff rates and lay down the odd case for them. "But as my godchildren have matured so have the wines," he says." Indeed, a couple of them are a wee bit too mature, not to say over the hill."


Former colleague of his - Tom Cave of Berrys says the best time to lay down wines for godchildren is when they are around ten-years-old: "The trouble is that godparental pressure means you have to take something tangible to the christening."


He says that Port ages better than Claret, but adds it doesn't keep its value so well. "My advice is to spend a minimum of £200 a case and to trade things as you go along."




Anthony Rose is scratching beneath the surface of Croatian wines and says it becomes clear that Croatia has a diverse indigenous wine culture whose dry whites and reds, as well as its sparkling and sweet wines, have the potential to add significantly to the wine styles we enjoy in the UK.


Rose explains that the Dalmatian coast is home to refreshingly crisp, full-flavoured dry whites made from Malvazija Istarska which he says have a special affinity with the local seafood.


And further down the Dalmatian coast, Plavac Mali is Croatia's main red grape variety that produces "richly flavoured wines with aromas and flavours of dark fruits like black cherry, plum and blackberry".


Croatia's other principal dry white grape variety is Gra?evina which Rose says, is grown in the hillside vineyards of Kutjevo where it produces high-quality dry aromatic whites full of juicy apple and citrus flavours.


Rose asks: "Is it too much to hope that before long we'll be able to enjoy Tesco Finest Gra?evina, Asda Extra Special Malvazija and Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Plavac Mali?"



Tim Atkin was surprised at two wine-related stories that appeared while he was on holiday and says if they'd been published on April 1, they would have made plausible April Fools.

He explains that both yarns originated in Italy and were partly about wine, money and sex.

The first covered the possible use of wine as collateral for bank loans. He comments that the idea even has the backing of the Italian agriculture minister and the chairman of the Banca Popolare di Vicenza.

But Atkin says it wont work. "For a simple reason: wineries that owe the banks lots of cash tend to be those that can't sell their wine at a decent price. And the reason for that? It's invariably crap."

He explains that the second tale "is even more bizarre".


Doctors at the University of Florence have published a "scientific study" about the link between female sexuality and red wine consumption. And have chosen to publish it in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

The researchers interviewed 800 women between the ages of 18 and 50, asking them to fill in a questionnaire to determine their Female Sexual Function Index.


Atkin comments "who says romance is on its last legs in Italy, eh?

The Times


Jane MacQuitty is exploring wines to drink with curry.


She says "strange though it sounds, the spices used in most curries are very wine-friendly".


The best all purpose red she endorses is Beaujolais because of its tart acidity and minimal tannin and recommends Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Georges Duboeuf 2007, £5.99.


For a white to go with Thai green curry, MacQuitty suggests the "zesty, juicy, lime peel-scented," Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne NV, Sainsburys £3.79.



Bordeaux Wine Council teams up with Lovefilm

Published:  18 August, 2009

The Bordeaux Wine Council and have teamed up with a number of major supermarkets in an a new promotional initiative.


Wines in the press - August 14-16

Published:  18 August, 2009

The Guardian

Whirrrr; or, more accurately, crunch-clack, isn't as satisfying as a pop, but increasingly this is the sound we hear when we open a wine bottle, says Victoria Moore.


The Pink Pound

Published:  17 August, 2009

Harpers Wine & Spirit devised the ultimate rosé tasting to gauge reaction from the trade.


VK Vodka clinches Threshers and Sainsbury's deals

Published:  28 July, 2009

Ready to drink vodka brand VK Vodka Kick has secured deals with Threshers and Sainsburys to stock four of its flavoured vodkas.


Wines in the Press 16/17 May 2009

Published:  19 May, 2009

What the wine critics have to say in the press this weekend.


Alcohol helps to boost Waitrose sales

Published:  12 March, 2009

Alcohol sales were one of the few highlights of Waitrose's trading year in 2008.


Wines in the Press, January 24-25

Published:  26 January, 2009

Our review of what the national wine critics had to say this last weekend, January 24-25


Wines in the Press, January 10-11

Published:  13 January, 2009

The Observer

For the best, and most reliable Pinot Noirs, look to New Zealand rather than Burgundy, says Tim Atkin. "As every self respecting Pinotphile knows, when red Burgundy is good, it is unbeatable. The opposite, alas is also true. When red Burgundy is bad, it is unpalatable," he declares.


While other countries including South Africa and the US make good Pinot Noirs, only New Zealand can compete with Burgundy at every level. And Atkins points out that other countries should be concerned, as three quarters of New Zealand's Pinot vineyards are less than eight years old and when those vines mature, the wines are only going to improve further.


He recommends the "sweetly oaked, finely wrought" 2007 Resolute Pinot Noir, Winegrowers of Ara, Marlborough, (£15.99 each for two, Majestic); the "complex, restrained" 2007 Blind River Pinot Noir, Marlborough (£15.99, Waitrose); and the multi-award winning 2006 Wild Earth Pinot Noir, Central Otago (£17.99, Liberty Wines).


The Times

Cash strapped wine drinkers on the lookout for some bargains should turn to offerings from Spain and Portugal, which produce some "terrific" sources of both sub- £6 reds, and increasingly whites, says Jane MacQuitty.


What they lack in popularity, they more than make up for in flavour, she claims. Spain's cheaper, often Tempranillo-grape-based reds and whites made from the airen grape are both worthy of a punt, while the Douro is the place to focus on in Portugal. Italy too, has some good reds below the £6 price bracket, particularly from Sicily and the south.


While Australia is finding it tricky competing at this level, Chile with its cabernet and carmenre, and Argentina with malbec and torrontes can offer some great wines at this price. France too, can be a source of cheaper wines, particularly Gascony and the Languedoc. Two of MacQuitty's recommendations include the 2008 Palo Alto Sauvignon Reserva, and the 2007 Alto Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenere-Syrah, (both down to £3.99 till Feb 10, Sainsburys).

The Guardian

Victoria Moore interviews Oddbins' new proprietor Simon Baile, and finds out about the changes he's introduced since he acquired the company last summer. After already ditching around 600 of the existing 2,000 stock lines which he inherited, he is already planning another cull, including the Oddbins Selection range, which Moore condemns as "dreary" and epitomizing "everything that had gone wrong with the chain".


Buyers are now being given the freedom to go out and buy what they like, and not just a couple of parcels a month; even if they can only source 900 bottles, Baile says he will put that wine into ten stores.


"I want the excitement factor; a sense of discovery" he says. So far Baile's team have focused their energies on France, a country which has contributed around 65 of some 80 new wines. Moore liked the "warm, bright" Capucine Vin de Pays de L' Aude 2007 (£6.99 or £5.59 as part of a mixed case), and the 2007 Chateau Malardeau Sauvignon Blanc Cote de Duras (£7.49 or £5,99 in a mixed case).


The Sunday Times

The upside of last year's cool damp summer has been lower alcohol wines from the less ripe, less sugar-rich grapes. This may not have been considered a benefit a few years ago says Joanna Simon, but recently there has been a bit of a backlash against heavy, alcohol-laden wines.


Whether that is because of consumers' growing health concerns or simply a desire for fresher, more balanced tasting wines remains to be seen, but producers had already started to look at ways of reducing the alcohol content by managing their vineyards differently. Some of these resulting wines that Simon likes includes the 12% abv 2006 Salwey Oberrotweiler Kasleberg Spatburgunder, (£11.60, Tanners) and the 2006 Ferngrove Riesling, also 12% abv, (£7.49, Oddbins).

The Independent

The wines originally made by the Marquis della Rochetta in the 1940's in Bolgheri, southern Tuscany, were initially derided as "filth", according to Anthony Rose. However, Sassicai, grown from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, has since gained a fine reputation worldwide.


Some of the most promising include the "spicy and succulently fruity" 2006 Insoglio del Cinghiale Toscana, (£14.99 - £17.50, Philglas & Swiggot, D Byrne, Portland Wine Cellars); and the "black olive, spicy, liquorice and bittersweet dark chocolatey" 2004 Piemonte Angelo Gaja Ca'Marcanda, (£62.65, Armit).


The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson interviews Peter Max Sichel, the man responsible for bringing Blue Nun to the masses in the early 1960's. This new generation of wine drinkers in both the US and UK loved the medium dry German blends that Blue Nun spawned, but by the early 1980's sales had started to slow as consumers became more sophisticated in their tastes.



Morrisons offers New Year bargains

Published:  05 January, 2009

Morrisons is entering the New Year with a range of discounts on branded wines.


Tojaki and top shelf...

Published:  24 November, 2008

Botrytis Masterclass on Friday in Soho - tasted a 1959 Steinberger Riesling TBA. OMG, a reverential hush descended on the room and cruised home later on a cloud of euphoria with still the taste of caramelised quince in my mouth.


Grand Marnier launches supermarket sampling campaign

Published:  17 November, 2008

Grand Marnier has launched a sampling programme as it bids to enhance the liqueur's usage during the autumn and winter months. Text

Grand Marnier has launched a sampling programme as it bids to enhance the liqueur's usage during the autumn and winter months.

Shoppers in Tesco and Sainsbury's stores in the south east will be treated to Grand Marnier winter warmers when in-store sampling for its Grand Café serve starts on November 20.

The Grand Café is a new serve liqueur in which 25ml of Grand Marnier is added to coffee and topped with a cream float.

Focused on 12 stores in the Home Counties, the sampling programme runs until
November 29.

The off-trade sampling campaign will run in conjunction with an on-trade drive to create sampling and listings partnerships with national licensed mainstream gastro bars and restaurants. The on-trade programme is supported with point-of-sale, bar tools for serving the Grand Café and a trade account incentive.

The Grand Café coffee-partnering serve is the latest phase in Grand Marnier's strategy to push its autumn and winter sales. Research shows that nearly 40% of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge is drunk in November and December.

Nicki Daw, Grand Marnier marketing manager, says: "Grand Marnier and coffee is a marriage made in liqueur heaven. What are becoming known as liqueur coffees are a massive market in the UK which Grand Marnier has yet to tap into."


Waitrose lists nectar of the "God"

Published:  12 November, 2008

The arrival in the UK of one of Sweden's most famous beers - God Lager, from the Nils Oscar Micro-brewery - is certainly cause for celebration.
Source: God Lager