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Wines in the press - December 3-5

Published:  07 December, 2010

The Telegraph
Victoria Moors says compiling the list of top wines for Christmas has nearly killed her.

She has tasted retasted and agonised having to drop some wines with reluctance because there is not enough space on the page. In the end, she says not sure she wants anyone to read it as some of the wines are in incredibly short supply, but she loves them anyway. Here are three to go with the three main courses. With smoked salmon she suggests McWilliam's Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Sémillon 2005 Australia (Sainsbury's, £8.99). With turkey, Trenel 'Esprit de Marius Sangouard' Julienas 2009 France (Wine Society, £9.50) is her choice. For Christmas pudding she's chosen Asti Spumante NV Italy (M&S, £7.49).

The Financial Times

The second of Jancis Robinson's four-part series on festive wines looks at a selection of favourite reds for current drinking. Pinot Noir and Burgundy feature strongly as Robinson think they go so well with celebratory meals and their often-sweet accompaniments.

Rio Pinot Noir 2009 Bío Bío (£6.99 Tesco) is "quite a steal". The Willunga 100 Grenache 2007 McLaren Vale (£8.49, Sainsbury's) has lots of sumptuous fruit and is big and alcoholic and as Australian as a hot afternoon but very well done, she says. Proof of Germany's increasing prowess with the red Burgundy grape is sampled in Matthias Gaul, Palataia Pinot Noir 2009 Pfalz (£8.49 Marks & Spencer) which Robinson thinks has a savoury nose and is light but not too simple.

The Independent

Pinot Noir: A fickle, seductive mistress, or a minx? Asks Anthony Rose. But which country or region makes the best outside Burgundy? The Pinot Puzzle, a blind tasting pitted Oregon, California, New Zealand, Chile and Australia against each other. Bottles unmasked, Chile turned in the least impressive performance, but Rose says at least its Pinots were reasonably priced. Australian Pinot Noir performed best in the cooler Victorian region of Mornington Peninsula. Oregon Pinot was good, if pricey and Californian tended to be more of a mixed bag, although the intensity of the 2008 Au Bon Climat (£21.60, WoodWinters) delivered, "and delivery of fragrance and sensuality is what we hope for from a Pinot Noir," he says.

The Mail

Sometimes if you peer beyond the safety of your regular purchase, you can not only save money but also find a wine that's totally delicious, says Olly Smith. Hungary is a classic example of a place that makes decent wine but with names that are hard to pronounce, such as "the excellent" Hilltop Tradition Cserszegi Fuszeres 2009 - a floral white that Smith says is a steal at just £3.99 in Morrisons.

If you're a fan of bone-dry whites with shrill acidity, such as Chablis, Smith suggests getting your chops around the Greek wine Hatzidakis Assyrtiko 2009 Santorini for £9.99 in Waitrose. Try finding a world-class Chablis at that price, he adds. Smith's advice is the best way to learn about wine is to taste it, so if you have a sure-bet bottle in your basket, supplement it now and again with a new wine. If you like it, experiment with other wines from the place it came from; if not, try again. In his opinion what you don't like in a wine is as important as what you do.