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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Variety is the spice of life, or so Victoria Moore thinks. "This is why I am suggesting a spring clean of your vinous buying habits," she reasons. We should all abolish wines from our shopping lists if, upon sipping them, "you still feel the dim, comfort-blanket recognition of something you once loved but now fail to respond to". For broadening your drinking horizons, says Moore, try the 2007 Vergelegen Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch (7.49, Majestic) for its "light-sabre intensity" and the 2005 Valpolicella Ripasso (6.12, Tesco). One word of warning from the Guardian critic this week, however: avoid 2007 Bordeaux Chteau de Sours Ros (8.49, Majestic) at all costs.

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jamie Goode is urging his Express readership to spend double their normal wine purchase for the Easter weekend by tempting them with the carrot of a "huge" step up in quality. The 2006 Yalumba Organic Shiraz (Waitrose, 7.99) is "great with duck" and extols a "spicy twist and hint of meatiness". Goode also suggests a 2006 Blind River Pinot Noir (Oddbins, 17.99) for its "aromatic berry fruits and dark spiciness".

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

It's not all "doom and gloom" despite Australian wine exports dropping for the first time since 1995, says Joanna Simon. The country's value sales were up for the 12 months and the 2008 harvest looks to be healthy due to a late bout of rain in November. However, there will be no return to "rock-bottom prices" and we can expect "the tidal waves of Bogofs" to end as well. Simon recommends the 2006 Pinot Noir Yarra Valley (13.49, Tesco) with its "nutmeg aromas" and the "spicy and focused" 2005 reserve Shiraz Margaret River (6.99, Real Wine Company).

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

Asparagus can be a "murder" to match with wine, says Jamie Goode, but the trick is to opt for "rich grassy whites" which excel with the "delicious seasonal delicacy'. The 2006 Sauvignon Blanc Sacred Hill Malborough (8.19, Morrisons) merits a mention for its "intense sophistication" while the 2006 Viognier Yalumba (9.99, Waitrose) has "peach and lemon" aromas. Goode also recommends a curve ball in the form of 2006 Syrah Ros Fetzer Valley (6.49, Thresher).

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Last week Anthony Rose organised a themed wine tasting for a select group of Independent hacks at the stipulation of his magazine editor. Using the game of options - where teams of participants have to answer multiple-choice questions on the wines to remain in the tasting - was, he said, "the only way of holding the attention of a bunch of rowdy journalists". Each round Rose quizzed the teams on two bottles of wine, which were linked by factors such as grape type and price. The chief sub at the newspaper spotted the link between the 2005 Trimbach Riesling (8, The Wine Society) and 2001 Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling (11.99, Selfridges). Rose said the former had a "dry and youthful" character while the latter displayed the "kerosene undertone of age". And who were the overall winners? The magazine editor's team, funnily enough.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

"China has become the world's sixth most important grower of grapevines," says Jancis Robinson MW. However, the quality of wines available has not always lived up to the market demand, she argues. On previous trips Robinson had been struck by "the relatively low quality of Chinese wine and by what an extraordinarily high proportion of it tasted like very, very thin, not quite clean, red Bordeaux". But a trip to China in early 2008 has restored some of her faith. Recommendations for the adventurous include: 2003 Catai, Superior Cabernet Sauvignon Shandong; Chteau Junding, 2005 Oriental Dry Red Bordeaux Blend Shandong; and 2005 Grace Vineyard, Chairman's Reserve Shanxi.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jancis Robinson MW touches on the subject of Bordeaux 2007. A "quite extraordinary" vintage, she says, but one that is the "polar opposite" of the 2003 vintage, which was produced amidst a heatwave. Robinson commends the whites but believes the reds are characterised by their lack of "alcohol, acid, ripe tannins and flavour". And her final verdict on the 2007 red Bordeaux? Drink early, as the "most positive thing to be said with certainty about the 2007 red Bordeaux is how brilliantly some producers have dealt with the most trying vintage many of them have ever known".

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The Sunday Express

Published:  23 July, 2008

Finding a wine to match "zingy, strongly flavoured sauces" is the challenge for Jamie Goode this week. He manages to find seven wines from around the world, which he feels are up to the task. The 2006 Viognier Bonterra Vineyards California (9.99 Majestic) is a wine "bursting with apricot, peach, honey and vanilla flavours" while the 2006 Pinotage Fairtrade Western Cape (5.15, Sainsbury's) is "chunky and bright" at an "excellent" price point.

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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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