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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


Wines in the Press: Sweet sherry and brilliant Bordeaux

Published:  04 November, 2008

Sherry is popular this week, with both Anthony Rose and Tim Atkin singing its praises. Meanwhile Victoria Moore reveals why an "experts' choice" in the supermarket might not always be what it seems and Jancis Robinson develops a passion for Bordeaux's 2005 vintage.


Famous Grouse gets festive makeover in the off-trade

Published:  08 October, 2008

Scotch whisky The Famous Grouse is to be repackaged for the off-trade this month in a bid to boost sales in the run up to Christmas.


ALMR slams Sainsbury's over loss-leading lager

Published:  26 August, 2008

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has criticised Sainsbury's for selling alcohol at below cost price over the August Bank Holiday weekend.


Sainsbury's to close wine website

Published:  23 July, 2008

Sainsbury's has announced it will be closing its wine website,


Morrisons sales rise again

Published:  23 July, 2008

Morrisons has continued its resurgence in the UK grocery retail market, reporting sales up by 8.6% in the first quarter of its financial year.


Morrisons implements Task 25 Scheme

Published:  23 July, 2008

Morrisons has implemented a Task 25' Scheme in a bid to prevent underage sales of alcohol.


706,000 bonus for Morrisons chief

Published:  23 July, 2008

Marc Bolland, the Morrisons chief executive, pocketed a bonus of 706,000 last year, according to the company's annual report.


Record results for Morrisons

Published:  23 July, 2008

Morrisons has reported like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) up by 4.6% for the year to 3 February, on sales up 6% to 13bn.
And pre-tax profit soared to 612m, up from 369m in 2006-07.


Waitrose moves into English fizz production

Published:  23 July, 2008 can exclusively reveal Waitrose plans to be the first UK retailer to plant vines in England and produce its own sparkling wine to hit the shelves in 2014.