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Wines in the Press - June 18-20

Published:  22 June, 2010

The Guardian
Victoria Moore is talking about and online wine merchant with a difference, Slurp.

Instead of selling small, hand-picked sets of bottles and encouraging you to trust their taste, Slurp has deliberately gone big. It offers more than 4,500 different lines of "deliberately chosen wines people might have tried and liked in a restaurant", says executive chairman Jeremy Howard.
"Our website is very highly search-engine optimised - until recently that's how most of our customers found us. It's kind of a radical vision, but so many companies take the view that customers should buy what they tell them to buy. We think our customers know what they want."
Moore says two of her favourites are the New Zealander Framingham Classic Riesling 2008 (£9.95) and the Grosset Polish Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2009 (£17.95).

If you ask a roomful of wine lovers about Rioja, you'll find an impressively high level of knowledge, says Susy Atkins. Nowadays wine from Rioja comes in many styles, and the more modern versions are fresh, young, sprightly and summery.

The popular summer Tapas Fantasticas street party hits London again, from June 25-27 at Potters Fields Park at the foot of Tower Bridge. This free event celebrates Rioja wine and tapas, and includes lots of Spanish winemakers and chefs. Expect music, dancing, live cookery demos and a great atmosphere, says Atkins. She recommends the well-balanced, dry, fruit-driven rosados and the younger, less oaky, red Riojas that have a juicy, easy-drinking quality.

Atkins will be at Tapas Fantasticas on June 27, holding seminars about the region.


According to Anothony Rose, the annual race to bring back the new Beaujolais vintage started off as friendly rivalry between Clement Freud and wine merchant Joseph Berkmann.

In 1972, it was turned into a national pastime by the Sunday Times diarist Allan Hall.

It was a simply a jolly good drink everyone could enjoy with a saucisson, until it was "defiled by producers blinded by greed and a wine trade that used it as a route into Christmas,"he adds.

Unfortunately by the 1990s, the novelty had worn as thin as the wine, says Rose.

The irony is that it has blinded us to the revival of good Beaujolais, the best of which tends to come from Beaujolais-Villages and the 10 crus, or appellations.

He recommends the Berry Bros' offer ( that mingles lighter and refreshingly juicy styles with richer, more serious ones that need time.

It includes the 2009 Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes, from Alain Chatoux, (£9.95).

Daily Mail

Olly Smith is locked in a lab within a winery witnessing the eureka moment when the proportions of a blend for a wine destined for the UK shelves has just struck.

"It's amazing to think that the tiny test tube with an assembly of different grape varieties will be replicated in giant steel tanks before being bottled and shipped to your local supermarket."
He says blends are more common than you think. Champagne, for example, can be blended from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with the idea is that each grape adds something to the mix, such as colour, structure or acidity.

Smith has recently created the wine list for The Glass House on board P&O's latest cruise ship, Azura. But one of the biggest challenges was when P&O asked him to select and blend the house wines for the ship.

Blending wine is an art. You need to think about colour, intensity of flavour and the style of wine you want to create - aromatic, zingy, butch, spicy, etc.

Financial Times

The Atlantic Ocean has always represented a gulf in the fine wine market, that has deepened and widened considerably of late, says Jancis Robinson MW.

Now that Hong Kong has become such an important centre for fine-wine auctions, a considerable quantity of fine wine that would once have stayed in the US can now be found in Asia, particularly Hong Kong and mainland China.

But many of the London fine-wine brokers, traders and merchants will have nothing to do with wine bought in the US and Asia. For Gary Boom, who founded Bordeaux Index in London in 1997 says: "We only ever purchase European stock and we feel that all UK merchants should follow suit. It is our firm belief that stock that has been across the oceans and back has too many risks attached.

"Shipping and airfreight leave a lot to be desired even today and, in general, the condition of the wines is not as good as European stock. The supply chain is simply too long in most cases."

"It should be noted however that many of these brokers, traders and merchants, including Bordeaux Index, now have an outpost in Hong Kong. Presumably Gary Boom feels that bottles can withstand one long journey between London and Hong Kong, so long as it is in an easterly direction," says Robinson.