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Wines in the press, January 26-29

Published:  31 January, 2012

The Guardian
At this cash-strapped time of year isn't a bad time to work through through those bottles you may have stored at home, says Fiona Beckett.

They are the bottles that you hesitate to bring them out for friends, yet feel they're too good for everyday drinking. Don't be afraid of cracking them open. Beyond a certain point, most wines simply don't improve with age - and that includes sherry. Beckett's husband is always reluctant to drink up the last couple of bottles in a case as it would mean they will never again get to drink that wine. As a result, they now have a collection bottles that are totally past it, she says. Older bottles may be a fascinating surprise or a total disappointment, so you need to have some kind of backup, she adds. If you have run out of stocks, or are looking for a younger, fresher wine by way of contrast, there are still some good post-Christmas bargains around as the shops clear their shelves for new vintages. Beckett recommends Santa Ana Torrontes 2010 (down to £5 from £7.30, Great Western Wine).

The Telegraph

Victoria Moore is in the French village of Chablis. It might be made exclusively from Chardonnay, but Chablis is not like any other Chardonnay, it is more taut, more mineral, more finessed. Or it is when it is good, she adds. We drink loads of it in the UK. According to the Burgundy Wine Board, about 40% of its production, or 28% if you go by value, not volume. The lean towards the cheaper stuff might help to explain why of all the wines in the world Moore thinks Chablis must disappoint more often than any other. It can be vapid, short, too fat, too fruity, too obvious, too stodgy, too dilute, just another glass of so-so wine, she says. Then, when it is right, how startlingly good it becomes. In Moore's opinion now is a good time to buy Chablis and the 2010s offers many wines that have a limpid freshness without being thin.

The Independent

Terry Kirby's wines to drink with Pizza include: Ripasso Valpolicello Classico 2009 which he thinks is perfect, ripe and fruity, and is given depth by adding dried grapes and a little oak ageing (£8.99 Marks and Spencer). La Vieille Ferme Cotes Du Ventoux 2010, is second on his list and - a medium-bodied, southern French blend, bursting with warmth and spice (£7.49 Waitrose). Terrific bargains are to be found in The Wine Society's introductory range, says Kirby, which includes The Society's Australian Shiraz-Cabernet, a fulsome red with enough body to match all tomato-based Mediterranean foods as well as grilled meats (£7.50 The Wine Society).

The Financial Times

According to Jancis Robinson MW, the Côte d'Or attracts more than its fair share of ambitious wannabe winemakers. During the three weeks she recently devoted to tasting the 2010 Burgundies, she kept coming across producers that were new to her, and some of them very promising. Robinson knows of two new Franco-Japanese enterprises, and Americans now seem to be as entrenched in Nuits and Beaune as in Paris - with Alex Gambal and Domaine Dublère making particularly "toothsome" 2010s, she says. Burgundians are concerned about an upward spiral in the prices paid for their land, which presumably will be followed by a similar movement in wine prices. But Burgundy's vignerons have long prided themselves on the contrast between their steady pricing and the volatility of Bordeaux, she adds. Two things thrilled Robinson about the 2010s. First, the wines of the Côte de Beaune shone as brightly as those of the Côte de Nuits, with a strong performance in many of the Premiers Crus around Beaune. Not just the relevant domaines but all of the best-performing Beaune négociants, Bouchard Père et Fils, Chanson, Joseph Drouhin and Louis Jadot, seem to have put extra effort. The other pleasing phenomenon was how well many of the lesser-known producers performed, she says.

The Mail

You've probably sipped a Torres wine, and if you haven't heard the name before today, the next time you're out shopping I'll bet you spot one, says Olly Smith. Torres makes the Spanish red wine with a plastic bull attached to the bottle, fSangre de Toro, 2010 (£6.98, Asda) is reliably good with juicy, tangy, fruity flavours, he says. Or maybe you've enjoyed the company's Viña Sol, a consistently good-value white that has graced the inside of many a British fridge. The Torres family's interest in wine dates back to the 17th century, and is now sold in more than 140 countries worldwide. Generally the quality is reliable for the price. Offerings range from the Spanish Fransola, a crisp, zesty and light Sauvignon Blanc, to reds with finesse and ageing potential such as Cristina Pinot Noir 2007, created by Marimar Torres over in California. Torres wines generally show off a sense of character - and it's that kind of distinctiveness that Smith loves in the world of vino. In Smith's opinion, it's easy to knock the well-known brands, but when they're doing something right he reckons it's worth celebrating.