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Wines in the press - May 10-14

Published:  14 May, 2012

The Guardian

It would be very useful to know when a wine is 'corked' - what to look out for, and when to send it back in a restaurant, wrote a reader to Fiona Beckett.

It would be very useful to know when a wine is 'corked' - what to look out for, and when to send it back in a restaurant, wrote a reader to Fiona Beckett.

It's not always blindingly obvious, she replies. It may just be a sense of flatness and lack of fruit. At its worst, it smells downright mouldy, she says. The cork manufacturers argue that corks have improved in reliability but Beckett has been sitting on the fence on this issue for a while, and has become less and less inclined to defend cork. She compares it to insisting on washing your clothes by hand instead of using a washing machine, or on writing longhand rather than using a computer. "I just heave a sigh of relief whenever I can unscrew a bottle rather than having to grapple with a corkscrew," she says.

The Independent

The map of Australian wine has changed rapidly over the decade, says Anthony Rose. Australia 10 years ago was still little more than a faraway sunshine-blessed country of quaffable Chardonnay and seductive Shiraz. Although it has been damaged by the "cheap-as-chips" strategy and crippled by drought, forest fire and floods and adverse exchange rates its wineries have grown in number to more than 2,500, quality has improved and regional character differences have emerged. Australian wine is growing up, he adds. Rose says, we may not look to Australia for cheapness any longer, but we can still find affordable value and recommends Route du Van Dolcetto/Shiraz, 2010 (£9.33, Corking Wines). He also likes Blind Spot Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2009 (£7.95, The Wine Society) and the McHenry Hohnen Shiraz 2010, (£8.96-£11, Hailsham Cellars).

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW, is rather surprised to find that there are as many Italian examples  of her current favourite rosés (five) as there are ones from Provence. She had thought that fine Provençal rosé was her preferred style, but the pinks she tasted recently have been closer to the "sticky and sickly" supermarket pink model. She however does admire the wines of Sacha Lichine's Château d'Esclans in the hills of Provence, which she thinks has lifted the game for all. She also likes most pink Sancerre, especially Vincent Delaporte Sancerre Rosé 2011. Non-European rosés to have taken her fancy recently are the Innocent Bystander, Rosé Pinot Noir 2011 Victoria. But her travels in Puglia last summer opened her eyes to how good the heel of Italy can be at full-bodied pink wine. She recommends A Mano Primitivo 2011 IGT Puglia ND Feudi di San Gregorio, Ros'aura Rosato 2011 IGT Campania.

The Daily Telegraph

Victoria Moore is in Croatia with Belinda Kleinig from the Marks & Spencer wine department. Its new collection consists of 15 wines, from six different countries, including a Slovenian Pinot Grigio and an Israeli Merlot. But Kleinig is worried the Croatian (the most expensive at £12.49) from the Pilato winery, will be the hardest to sell. Plus it's made from Malvasia Istarski, a grape people don't really know, she says. Moore questions what she was thinking of, when she could just have bought a few "innocuous", easy Pinot Grigios instead? "I think it's exciting," she says. "We try to bring on new things all the time." Pilato first came to the M&S team's attention when it exhibited at a trade Croatian tasting in London last summer. It produces 80,000 litres of wine a year. Moore tastes the wine and thinks it's cleverly judged; "fresh but with the texture and depth that makes it a good food wine."

The Daily Mail

Zinfandel has developed something of a bad reputation, says Olly Smith. A red grape variety, it's been used to make White Zinfandel in California -which, along with its fans, has its detractors. Smith comes down on the side of a "good old-fashioned" red Zinfandel. Until recently, he hadn't bought or enjoyed it - the cheaper bottles often have jammy, baked flavours but the grape can produce decent wines, he says. Ridge Lytton Springs 2010 is a Zin-based blend that "spanked" Smith's palate in the best possible way, he says, and which will sell out in a heartbeat, such is its quality, verve and brightness. He also recommends Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2009 (£9.89 Sainsburys). Smith reckons the best way to get acquainted with hefty, spicy Zinfandel is while enjoying some grilled nosh in the garden.