Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Wines in the press - April 15-17

Published:  18 April, 2011

The Guardian
If you've not yet noticed the post-budget duty increase that put another 15p on a bottle of wine, you soon will, says Fiona Beckett.

The Guardian 
If you've not yet noticed the post-budget duty increase that put another 15p on a bottle of wine, you soon will, says Fiona Beckett.

It brings the increase in excise duty to 12.5% in the past year (15% after VAT), making the wine we buy the highest-taxed in Europe. If your favourite wine has become unaffordable, the answer is to draw a few lessons from cutting the household food budget. The first is to buy own-label. Supermarkets often take more care with the quality of wines bottled under their own label than the brands they stock. Tesco Finest usually delivers, but even the basics such as Sainsbury's House range can provide decent drinking, says Beckett. She recommends its Chianti (£4.29). Better still, Aldi's Henri de Lorgère Macon-Villages 2009 (£4.99). Only buy on special offer and still check it's not cheaper elsewhere. Two useful price comparison websites are and Also, try a lesser known appellation, it will be more keenly priced than a famous or fashionable one for example buy a Touraine Sauvignon instead of Sancerre.

The Daily Telegraph
Abel Lusa, has just opened a sherry bar that is dedicated to the appreciation of this "still-under-valued" wine, says Victoria Moore. Capote y Toros is a tiny little place on Old Brompton Road in south-west London, that has such an excellent sherry list it makes most wine lists look lazy, she adds. There are about 100 altogether, available to buy by the bottle and 49 by the glass. Whenever Moore hears about another sherry specialist, she think the sherry revolution is finally on its way and that we shall all start ransacking supermarkets for boxfuls of what she considers to be one of the best-value wines in the world. "Yet somehow, it has never quite happened", she says. Moore adds she is loathed to suggest ways in which non-sherry fans might acquire a taste - as she'd prefer it to remain as cheap as possible.

The Independent
Terry Kirby selects his best buy bottles. For Sunday lunch he recommends Balfour Brut Rosé 2006 (£34.99, Waitrose). With a few celebrations coming up: St George's Day, Easter and then, he says "I'm told, something to do with a wedding,"what better time for some English wines. Unashamedly chasing the same elite market as pink Champagne, and grown on an ancient estate in Kent, he says this special occasion wine is bone dry and supremely elegant. For a weekday supper he opts for the Tesco Finest English White 2011 (£8.49, Tesco), made at Denbies. In his opinion it's a perfect wine for a spring lunch outdoors - dry, crisp, refreshing, with some nice green-fruit flavours. For a bargain basement wine he recommends Chapel Down Reserve Brut NV (Marks & Spencer). While £15 might not seem an obvious bargain, this holds its own against comparably priced Champagnes, he says.

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW finds it hard to imagine that she will ever again encounter such successful consecutive vintages in Bordeaux as 2009 and the infant 2010s she has recently been tasting. Then again climate change may mean that the summer droughts largely responsible for the ripeness of these two vintages will become more common, she adds. Robinson explains that both 2009 and 2010 have massive, record-breaking amounts of alcohol (thanks to the high sugar levels in the grapes), tannins and colour. Yet the big difference between the vintages is in the acid levels. The 2010 has much higher levels making the vintage more structured and refreshing, and it will demand a much longer time in bottle. The 2010s may well go into a shell in their youth, she says several producers admitted they happened to be tasting particularly well last week. Robinson thinks the 2009s on the other hand, with their lower acids, taste much sweeter and gentler, and may well continue to do so throughout their lives.

The Mail
It's that time of year when the British Isles are bursting with buds, and then there's lamb, says Olly Smith. Lamb is one of his favourite meats to match wine with, because it offers a uniquely fragrant flavour, moderate intensity and a juicy texture. For a hearty roast lamb, the traditional options are an aged Bordeaux from France or mature Rioja from Spain. Smith suggests having a crack at Tesco Finest Château Haut Langlade Montagne St Emilion 2008 (£8.99). For something a bit different, he suggests a Cabernet Franc from the Loire, served after 20 or 30 minutes in the fridge. With spring lamb Smith recommends to serve it pink, then pour a glass of glorious red, sit back and listen to the birds.