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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JANE MacQUITTY simply can't understand why everybody whinges about the high alcohol levels of wines. What few commentators get to grips with is that balance is what you are looking for in wine,' she comments. The greatest wines with lots of flavour and concentration can carry an extra alcoholic degree.' She suggests trying a bottle of 2004 Cape Mentelle Cabernet-Merlot (11.99; Waitrose, Majestic). Sherry is also given a mention and one of MacQuitty's favourites is the 17% Solera Jerezana Reserva Manzanilla Sherry (6.99; Waitrose).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

It's the turn of TIM ATKIN MW to say farewell to Australian legend Len Evans this week and the praise is plentiful: Evans was a showman, wit, exhibitionist and raconteur, who championed Australian wine styles with considerable vigour.' He admits that the Australian wine industry today is not without its problems - such as over-supply and a few disappointing brands - but there is just as much reason for optimism'. With Len Evans in mind, Atkin picks out some Aussie classics, including 2004 Tesco Finest Denman Vineyard Semillon (7.99; Tesco).

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The Daily Mail

Published:  23 July, 2008

MATTHEW JUKES is also following the summer theme and introduces a few of his own 'seasonal stars'. Try a glass of 2004 De Bortoli Gulf Station Pinot Noir, Victoria, Australia (8.99; Oddbins) and 'you will be struck by the ethereal nuances of wild strawberry wafting up into your nostrils and wooing our senses'. Or go for this week's Wow, the 'titillatingly crisp' 2005 Willow Bridge Dragonfly, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Geographe, Western Australia (7.49 or 4.99 when you buy three for two; Thresher)

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

Why go out for a drink when you can stay in for one?' muses JONATHAN RAY. Two new companies have taken advantage of the current trend for entertaining at home and Ray feels it's only fair that he gives them both a try. Taste-In sends over a wine expert and some top wines for the night and Ray's guests are treated to Charles Metcalfe, who proves to be authoritative and witty, and pitches it just right'. Belvedere Private Room is a little more on the edgy side and sends in bartenders, booze, poker chips, playing cards and very fit young ladies laden with a large massage table'. At between 80 to 100 a head, Ray does point out that neither occasion is cheap', but he decides it's worth it for two cracking evenings with fabulous wines and cocktails and absolutely no washing up'. Wines of the week include 2005 McWilliam's Hanwood Estate Riesling, Australia (5.99; Somerfield).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

The third edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine has just been published and JANCIS ROBINSON MW can heave a sigh of relief. For the first time, the revision did not rely solely on Robinson, she had an assistant in the form of the ideally qualified' Julia Harding MW. The number of alphabetised entries has been increased by only 250 (from 3,650 to 3,900), but this translates as an addition of more than 300 substantive new entries' due to the ditching of all sections relating to wine in distilled form, such as Cognac and Armagnac, for reasons of space'. New entries include Crljenak Kastelanski, the Dalmation grape that turned out to be the original for California's Zinfandel and Puglia's Primitivo; and Mikhail Gorbachev, for the far-reaching effects on the world of wine of his anti-alcohol campaign'. Robinson reveals that there has also been an effort to avoid the book being overly biased towards English speakers: We have depended on European input rather more than in previous editions, which owed so much to Australia and the United States.'

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

Just in case readers were running out of food-matching ideas, JAMIE GOODE comes up with a whole new world of opportunity: ice cream. Experimentalists are pointed towards NV Lustau Old East India Sherry (7.99; Waitrose).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

'My main task this week is to decide what I'm going to drink over the next month,' says TIM ATKIN MW. The reason for this bout of hard work is the imminent drinking fest that is the 2006 World Cup, and Atkin is keen to stock up on the necessary vino. 'Given that 18 of the 32 qualifiers are wine-producing nations, I've asked friends to match the bottles to the countries on the pitch.' He's a little concerned about what to do when Poland takes on Ecuador but, in general, things are looking pretty good. 'Eight of the world's leading wine countries are playing, including France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Australia, the United States and Argentina. I could happily drink wines from that line-up for the rest of my life.' One of the wines he's already looked out is 2005 Finca Flichman Malbec Reserva, Mendoza. (5.99; Waitrose).

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The Daily Mail

Published:  23 July, 2008

MATTHEW JUKES goes pink this week with a definitive rundown on French ross'. 2005 Louis Jadot Beaujolais Ros (6.99; Waitrose) is cherry scented' and only graceful ladies need apply', while 2005 Domaine Saint-Antoine Ros, Costires de Nmes (5.49; Oddbins) is a chunky ros with a spine of blackberry juice and liquorice'.

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

All too often, when it comes to judging the seriousness of a wine (as opposed to the drinker), a kind of apartheid sets in, with red considered the elite,' reports VICTORIA MOORE. This is doing a great disservice to the top whites of the world, in her opinion, and she singles out a few which are worth upgrading to even on a small budget'. One example is 2005 Tim Adams Clare Valley Riesling (7.99; Tesco).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Top Bordeaux chteaux may be cashing in on the rave reviews of the 2005 vintage but their good fortune is launched against the grim backdrop of Bordeaux's continued wine crisis', points out JANE MacQUITTY. Those who are prepared to fork out for a case or two will need to know that while I still consider 2005 to be a great vintage, it is not a consistent one, and several communes and plenty of winemakers have slipped up'. The best of the best include Haut-Brion, Palmer and Pape Clment, while good buys' can be sourced from lesser names, such as Batailley, Gloria and La Lagune. Other wines meeting MacQuitty's approval this week include 2005 Petit Chablis (7.99; Waitrose).

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Forget Pinot Grigio,' says JOANNA SIMON. Forget wine and food pairing. The new foodie fashion is beer and food matching.' Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche and Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck are among this new breed of beer enthusiast, she says, alongside regional devotees such as Anthony's restaurant in Leeds. For those who fancy a spot of experimentation, Simon's suggestions include Kasteel Cru(Waitrose) from Alsace as an aperitif with cheese straws, and Artois Bock (Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons, Thresher) from Belgium with smoked sausages, red meat and game.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Old World and the New World are beginning to blur at the edges, says JANCIS ROBINSON MW. I don't think the market is by any means as polarised now,' she comments. Equally, she doesn't believe it's still relevant to paint the world of wine in the broad brushstrokes of commercial success for the New World and doldrums for the Old'.

France may have suffered from a loss of market share but California and Australia have had to endure an embarrassing grape glut and shrivelling corporate profits'. There have also been mergers in terms of style, she continues, pointing to the increasing number of Rhne-like Syrahs coming from places such as Australia and Chile, as well as the more consumer-friendly, fruit-forward wines that have been appearing in Bordeaux. There is now such a thorough blending of ideas and techniques that it is no wonder that New and Old World stereotypes are on the wane', she concludes.

ANDREW JEFFORD considers how the whisky world is increasingly dominated by big-playing brands and explains why this is a disappointing trend for the true whisky lover: intellectually and culturally, the result is boredom'. The upside, however, has been a journey back towards the authenticity, individuality and character of malt whisky'. And it needn't stop there, he continues, the latest entrepreneurial outfit is an interactive members-only distillery to be built in Fife.

At a cost of 3,250 for membership, Jefford admits the scheme looks expensive', but the advantage is that eventually you may be able to pour a glass of malt for your friends and say "I helped make this"'.

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

TIM ATKIN MW briefly experiences a taste of monastical life while spending three nights in a hard and narrow' bed in the Abb de Fontevraud, to play his part in the judging at an international Cabernet Franc convention. There is a sense that Cabernet Franc is an outcasts' grape,' says Atkin. It's not quite a leper among varieties... but it's definitely not part of the mainstream.' This doesn't mean that it isn't worthy, argues Atkin, who reports that there's plenty of work going on in the Loire Valley under the influence of Sam Harrop MW, who has encouraged producers to pick their grapes later and to make wines with softer, more approachable, tannins'. Atkin advises readers to try 2005 Monastier Cabernet Franc, Vin de Pays d'Oc (4.99; Majestic).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JANCIS ROBINSON MW gives her own take on summertime drinking and says: I think the refreshment factor, which should be a prerequisite in all wines in my view but is regrettably absent from an increasing proportion of reds, is paramount in summer.' Chenin Blanc is one of the grapes that fares well in this regard, she continues, flagging up 2004 Domaine Pierre Bise, Clos de Coulaine Savennires (9.75; Stone, Vine & Son) and one of the New World's finest Chenin Blancs', 2004 Forrester Meinert Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch(16.99; selected Waitrose). Her column wouldn't be complete, however, without a nod to Riesling, and although she is giving Germany a rest this week', Alsace comes up with an alternative: 2004 Domaine Frdric Mochel Riesling (9.95; Vine Trail of Bristol).

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

Gazpachos are a 'great way to start a summer dinner party', says JAMIE GOODE and the best wine matches will have 'a bit of richness and weight'. Try 2005 Martn Codax Albario, Ras Baixas (8.50; Majestic, Roberson, SH Jones, Wright Wine).

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

'If you switch off as soon as anybody mentions German wines, you're showing your age,' says JOANNA SIMON. When tasted blind, Riesling often scores higher than Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, she says, and sceptics are pointed towards 2005 Mineralstein Riesling (5.99; Marks & Spencer).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

TIM ATKIN MW has toppled over to the dark side and declared himself to be a believer. That is to say, he's beginning to think that wines, just like people, have good and bad days' and he is thus prepared to put faith in the biodynamic idea of root', fruit' and flower' days.

He's not the only one who feels so inclined, and a chat with Marks and Spencer's wine buyer, Jo Ahearne, reveals that the retailer is hugely guided by lunar cycles and never holds press tastings on root days any more'. Some of the best from M&S included 2004 Lone Range Pinot Noir, Martinborough (14.99).

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The Independent On Sunday

Published:  23 July, 2008

RICHARD EHRLICH turns his attention to the role of the mixer this week and comments: 'You can't make a good cocktail unless every single ingredient is high quality.' One possibility with vodka is Grove Fresh Original Tomato and Vegetable juice (2.39-2.79; selected Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Booth's and independents), which is described as 'all organic, improbably good for you, and entirely delicious'.

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The Daily Mail

Published:  23 July, 2008

The final instalment of MATTHEW JUKE's Italian series looks at how its grape varieties have fared away from their homeland. 2005 Thorn Clarke Terra Barossa Pinot Gris, Eden Valley, South Australia (7.99 down to 6.99 each if you buy two bottles; Majestic) benefits from 'oodles of green apple and pear notes', and 2005 Norton Barbera, Mendoza (4.99; Waitrose) is 'one of the best-value Barberas on the planet'.

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Bordeaux has finally released its prices for the 2005 vintage and ANTHONY ROSE reports: 'Just when everyone thought that the big-name chteaux couldn't get more expensive, many of them have surpassed themselves in an orgy of exorbitant pricing.' The good news is that some of the lesser chteaux have kept things affordable, and when it comes to getting hold of them, Rose says: 'Among the specialists, Farr Vintners has one of the best-priced selections.' His recommendation for wine under a fiver is 2005 Palandri Pinnacle Semillon Sauvignon (4.99; Waitrose).

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