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Wines in the press- Dec 30- Jan 2

Published:  03 January, 2012

The Guardian
Was 2011 a good year or a bad year for wine? Asks Fiona Beckett.

In her opinion it has been mixed. The low point for Beckett has been the shrinking of supermarket ranges, especially in smaller branches and the "ruthless" hiking of prices to achieve discounts. On the plus side, she thinks supermarket own-label wines have become more adventurous with Sainsbury's deserving particular credit for its Taste the Difference range. It's been a hard year for independent wine merchants, according to Beckett, but she thinks high-street shops have proved their worth in terms of championing lesser countries, regions and grape varieties. She also mentions natural wines, and love them or hate them, they're here to stay, she says. In terms of countries, she thinks California and South Africa continue to be a disappointment, on supermarket shelves. Australia is busy reinventing itself and there are some increasingly interesting wines coming out of South America. All in all, there's plenty to be optimistic about in 2012, she adds.

The Observer

For those who aren't giving up in January David Williams recommends: Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Fairtrade Chenin Blanc, Western Cape, South Africa 2011 (£7.99, which is a great-value white with a juicy Bramley-apple sourness, jaunty acidity and a hint of tropical fruit. For a juicy, light and refreshing red he opts for Château Thivin Clos Bertrand, Côte de Brouilly, Beaujolais, 2010 (£14.10 as part of a case of 12, It has charming fruit, but carries a bit more weight and an earthy charm. Meandro do Vale Meão, Douro Valley, Portugal 2007 (£16, The Wine Society, is his third recommendation. It has a violet, floral lift to the dark fruit, a suggestion of wild herbs and a purring understated power, he says.

The Telegraph

The annual hangover season reached its crescendo this weekend. For wine critic Victoria Moore, drinking is part of her job. Wine-makers, buyers usually have a table littered with a dozen or more wines. Many of her colleagues swear by extract from the seeds of the milk-thistle, or Silybum marianum, which is said to improve liver function. But Moore prefers to stick to the time-honoured cure of water. A litre before you go to bed, half a litre every time you wake up in the night and another half-litre in the morning makes an extraordinary difference, she says. Although for Moore, New Year's Day is one morning she can guarantee not to have a hangover. She prefers to get the new year off to a good start than see out the old one with late-night carousing.

The Mail on Sunday

Palates may be rather jaded from indulgence over the festive period. But there are plenty of wines out there that are relatively light in alcohol to whip taste buds back into action, says Olly Smith. Smith is a fan of German Rieslings, in particular those from the Mosel, Rheingau and Pfalz, by producers such as Leitz, Dr Loosen, Reichsrat von Buhl and Dönnhoff, which he says are all "top-notch". If you're after an easy sip of fizz, he recommends Moscato d'Asti or sparkling Moscato from Australia which at around 5.5%, Smith says is capable of resurrecting even the most pallid of palates. Portuguese Vinho Verde can be a joyful, or how about a chilled glass of French Muscadet? Look for 'Sur Lie' on the label to get the best kit, he adds. And of course there's Champagne and sparkling wine - Chapel Down, Hush Heath and Camel Valley are leading the charge for English fizz. As for post-Christmas reds, there are a few candidates to choose from, such as Pinot Noir from Burgundy. "Alternatively, dare I say, spritzer, anyone?"