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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jane MacQuitty discusses bottle size in her weekly column while remembering the old wine merchant adage that "there are no great vintages, only great bottles". She explains how 37.5cl half bottles "are not reliable as full bottles (75cl)" and age quicker because "there is more oxygen per centiliter of wine trapped in the neck of the bottle". The converse is true of magnums. One size that has won her approval is 50cl, and Waitrose has recently launched a range of eight different screw-capped options in this size. They are made "for drinking, not keeping" with the 2006 Ctes du Rhne from Louis Bernard (3.99) and the 2006 Chardonnay Loire Ampelidae (4.99) both worth investigation.

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

What is the ultimate wine to drink with your roast lamb on Sunday, ponders Victoria Moore. The Rhne tends to be the starting point, she says, with "a peppery Syrah from one of Chile's new cooler regions" always going well with a rare rack of lamb. Australian blends such as St Hallett's Gamekeeper's Reserve and Charles Melton's Nine Popes compliment a butterflied lamb leg, Moore believes. So carving through the mutton, she selects a 2005 Ctes du Rhne Villages, Domaine de Piaugier Sablet Les Briguires (Majestic, 8.99) and a 2005 Crozes-Hermitage (Tesco, 6.99), which needs to be accompanied by food for its "hint of savagery".

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

"We [Brits] are serious skinflints when it comes to wine," argues Victoria Moore. No one will bat an eyelid to pay 2 a day for a "dismal Starbucks latte" or 10 for a cinema ticket, she says, yet the average bottle in the UK costs 4.01. However, this situation will have to change given the Chancellor's recent duty hike on alcohol and "either the price will go up or, next vintage, the quality will come down". Moore feels that if anything, poor quality wine only serves to fuel binge drinking as she drinks more given the only thing to savour is "the sense of relief when you get to the bottom of the glass". Despite this, there are still a few post-Darling bargains to be had. Of her four weekly wines, the top scoring were the "intense and aromatic" 2005 Domaine du Joncier Lirac (5.99, Waitrose) and the 2006 Nero D'Avola Sicily (3.99 Tesco) which is ideal with a "pasta or passata dish".

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Supermarket own label wines are on the agenda for Anthony Rose with most chains having "a basic own label and at least a higher quality tier". Own label brands almost faced extinction in the 80s but were saved by the advent of new world wines from the likes of Australia, Chile, Argentina and South Africa. Separating the wheat from the chaff has always been the main challenge, Rose says, but a recent own-brand tasting competition of 427 products in London went some way to providing the answers. The 2007 Sancerre Joseph Mellot (10.49, Waitrose), with its "nettley aromas and flinty mineraliy", won the trophy for best white while the 2006 Shiraz from St Hallett (7.99, Marks & Spencer) took home the plaudits for best red.

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The Daily Mail

Published:  23 July, 2008

For those of you planning to start your own wine cellar, Matthew Jukes has chosen a selection of wines, each with its own drinking date.
For wines that will last up to 4 years, he recommends 2005 Marques de Casa Concha Merlot, Concha y Toro (7.99, Sainsbury's) and 2005 Petaluma Chardonnay (14.99, Tesco). For wines that will drink well for a good seven years, he goes for 2005 St Hallett Blackwell Shiraz (12.99, Sainsbury's) and 2002 Veuve Cliquot (45.99, Wine Rack). And for a real staying power, he picks 2000 Quinta da Roriz Port (29.99, Wine Rack), "a complete and utter bargain", says Jukes.

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Anthony Rose questions whether wine under the 10 mark is really California's strongest suit, following the recent annual California wine tasting in London. While he understands why the region feels the need to show it can compete at the everyday price point with other new world regions, he is unconvinced that this is what California does best. "The under a tenner price point doesn't begin to reflect the innovation, diversity and quality of today's thriving California wine industry," he complains. While there are some good stalwarts in the under 10 bracket, such as Ravenswood's Lodi Zinfandel, and the " tropical, grapefruity" Bonterra organic 2006 Sauvignon Blanc, Rose believes the reality is that you need to pay more for quality. He recommends Cline's "spicy, rich" 2005 Ancient Vines Mourvedre, Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay (24.50, Berry Bros), Joseph Phelps "spicy, rich, blackberryish" Le Mistral (27.50, Waitrose) and Calera's "elegant" Central Coast Pinot Noir, (16.99 Waitrose).

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Despite the recent snow falls, Victoria Moore focuses on crisp whites for spring, but encourages her readers to be adventurous and try something other than the ubiquitous Sauvignon Blanc; Verdejo from Rueda, Assyrtiko from Greece and Vermentino all tick the right boxes for fans of clean unoaked whites with good acidity.

She likes Tesco's Finest Palestra Rueda Verdejo (5.99, Tesco) and describes it as "dry, lithe and prickly. The 2007 De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc (799, Oddbins) also wins her vote, as does the "crystalline" Weingut Pfarre Weissenkirchen Grner Veltliner (6.99, Majestic).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jancis Robinson MW profiles winemaker Pierre-Yves Colin, who, unlike some of his Burgundy colleagues, enthuses about other wine regions around the world.
"Balding with intense eyes, a healthy outdoor mien, well-etched features and dramatically dark eyebrows that are in constant motion" is how Robinson describes Colin, who has gained respect for his "dense, pure" white Burgundies. And although he buys in around 30% of his total production, he refuses to show the growers the wines he has made from their grapes: "It would be a bit like taking a child away from their parents and then showing them how nice the child looked with a new haircut." he says.

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Bridge the gap between winter and spring with sweet wine, suggests Jane MacQuitty, who doesn't believe it's yet warm enough to drink pink wines or spring whites such as Sauvignon or Riesling, nor cold enough to continue glugging big whites such as oaked Chardonnays. "Step forward sweet wines, whose high alcohol level and sugar content make wonderfully comforting aperitif and first course bottles," she says. Sweet wines also make the perfect partner for the strong salty flavours of powerful blue cheeses such as Roquefort or Stilton. Chill the bottle for a couple of hours to mask some of the sweetness, and even the most confirmed sweet wine hater will be won over, she asserts.

She recommends Sainsbury's "gorgeous, golden honeyed" 2005 Taste the Difference Sauternes (8.49 a half bottle), the 2003 Chteau Filhot with its "crystallized pineapple palate", (9.99 a half bottle, Majestic Wines) and Tesco's 2004 Finest Sauternes (12.20 a half bottle).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Despite common perceptions to the contrary, Australia is capable of producing elegant, subtle restrained wines along with the best of them, says Tim Atkin. And Tasmania, for long dismissed as a credible wine region, is now producing some impressive wines in a more elegant style than the traditional in- your- face- Aussie headbangers. Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir all have a "bright future" here, according to Atkin, who even had an "impressive" Cabernet Sauvignon, a grape that used to struggle in Tasmania's climate.
Three wines that grabbed Atkin's tastebuds include the "New Zealand-like" 2007 Tasmania Sauvignon Blanc, Tamar Ridge Estates (7.99, Marks & Spencer); the "honeyed, refreshing, stylishly oaked" 2006 The Society's Exhibition Tasmanian Chardonnay, (9.95, The Wine Society); and the "youthful, structured, multi-dimensional, Burgundian-style" 2005 Apsley Gorge Pinot Noir (15.42, Justerini & Brooks). However, Tasmania's strength still lies in its sparkling wines, and Atkin particularly likes the "fresh, strawberryish, all -Pinot Noir" 2005 Clover Hill Ros (16.99, Oddbins).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jane MacQuitty is fuming because "after almost a decade of research and effort", winemakers appear no closer to eradicating the taints caused by corks and screwcaps. "The truth is," she adds, "that no one in the wine industry understands completely why these faults occur, or how to solve them."
Corked wine tastes "musty and malodorous", while some screwcapped wines can "suffer from bitter finishes, flat, jammy aromas and reduction-caused odours, which start with the hydrogen sulphide pong of bad eggs and work up to the full cabbagey stench of sewers and rotting garlic".
Her preferred screwcapped wines include the "wondrous, ripe, spicy, rose-scented"
2006 Mount Difficulty Pinot Noir (19.99, Waitrose); the "fat and minty" 2005 Cape Mentelle Cabernet/Merlot (11.99; Majestic, Tesco); and 2006 Chablis Premier Cru from Labour-Roi (12.99, Tesco), which displays a "steely, mineral pizzazz".

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Rioja is a wine that can often be found to have a multiple personality disorder, Victoria Moore states. Sometimes slick, sometimes traditional and sometimes even sneaky, she feels it is often hard to know where you stand with this Spanish variety. Things are set to get even more confusing, she continues, with the Rioja Regulatory Council's recent approval of six additional native grape varieties. "Expect things to get more complicated still," Moore warns. The 2004 Muriel Rioja Crianza (Sainsbury's, 5.99) features for "pure, sweet, clean fruit" while she also recommends the 2001 Contino Rioja Reserva (Waitrose, 25), which is a "gorgeously nuanced, old-school, noble Rioja that's rich and fulfilling".

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jane MacQuitty touches on the expansion of the Champagne region but poses the question of whether quality will go up in turn? "Production is likely to jump from 330 million bottles to 430 million bottles," she says, but if 2002 is anything to go by consumers will be disappointed. MacQuitty adds some examples from this year were "so nauseously evil I only just made it to the spittoon in time". Thankfully, there were a few notable exceptions in 2002 with Roederer's vintage (Fortnum & Mason, 60) gaining her praise, as does the 2002 Chanoine (Tesco, 36.99) for its "gorgeous, floral, crystallised lemon fruit".

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

Ordinarily you might think a pint of beer would be a more suitable accompaniment to a pie but Jamie Goode feels that with the "upmarket ingredients" they are often cooked from nowadays, wine is the perfect choice. He recommends the 2007 Malbec Mendoza (Tesco, 2.99) for its "smoky" qualities while the 2004 Ripasso di Valpolicella (Waitrose, 8.99) is "satisfyingly complex" and a good match for steak and kidney pie.

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Fitting wine choices around vegetarians is a challenging but important aspect of catering nowadays, according to Victoria Moore. This is exacerbated in winter when "it's not easy to add a wine into the mix without it getting in the way". Pasta and risotto are good options but often seen as a "cop-out" so instead opt for butternut squash with Ros or couscous with Tempranillo. Other potentials include the 2006 Origin Organics Vin de Pays d'Oc (6.99, Wine Rack) to go with mushrooms or the 2006 Chteau du Cray Bourgogne Aligot (6.49, Majestic) for its partnership with macaroni cheese.

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Tim Atkin MW seems to have more than just the initials after his name coordinated with Jancis Robinson MW - as his weekly column is also devoted to the delights of South African whites. "I feel South Africa's white wines are still vastly superior to its reds," he writes, adding that Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chenin Blanc are the stand-out varieties. He picks out the "intense" 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Springfield Special Cuve (Sainsbury's, 8.99) and the 2006 Late Harvest Riesling, Elgin (Jeroboams, 11 per half bottle).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Many UK consumers make a beeline for supermarket reds when they think South African but it is in the white wine aisles where this country is really accelerating, says Jancis Robinson MW. It is "one of the very few non-European wine producing countries with an outstanding track record for white wine production," she argues. Chenin Blanc is the country's most planted variety and not without good reason, Robinson feels, adding that while "South Africa's best reds are admirable" the "lesser ones can taste strangely earthy". On a recent tasting trip, the MW awarded eight South African wines more than 17 out of 20 points representing a "very good mark" on her sliding scale. Robinson's white recommendations with approximate retail prices include; the 2006 FMC Chenin Blanc, Ken Foster, Stellenbosch (17); the 2006 Chardonnay Reserve, Vergelegen, Stellenbosch (13); the 2006 Chardonnay, Oak Valley, Elgin (15) and the 2006 Vergelegen White, Stellenbosch (22).

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Yes, Jonathan Ray is also on the chocolate matching search. While a Recioto della Valpolicella works a treat, beer seems a better option. Try Brakspear Triple or Worthington White Shield with everyday chocolate like Cadbury's Fruit & Nut or even Ferrero Rocher. Pick of the beers is Belgium's Bacchus Raspberry Beer (2.34 per 37.5cl bottle, Sainsbury's).

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

In the second part of her Valentine's special, SUSY ATKINS leaves pink bubbly behind for the second most seductive drink' - luscious, golden dessert wine.
Her recommendations include the 2003 Concha y Toro Private Reserve Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc (6.99 for 37.5cl; Majestic); 2003/4 Chteau Liot, Sauternes (9.99 for 37.cl; Waitrose) and Hidalgo's Pedro Ximnez Viejo Napoleon (9.99 for 75cl; Majestic).

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The Sunday Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Sommeliers might have become less "snooty", says Susy Atkins but that doesn't mean it's any easier to order a bottle of wine in a restaurant. She recommends heading for the mid-section of the list which, in her opinion, offers the best value and starting with a glass of fino or manzanilla while you are trying to make your mind up. In her "Try These" section Marks & Spencer's 2005 Valpolicella Ripasso (7.49) is worthy of mention for its versatility with rich pasta dishes, steak, duck and mature cheeses.

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