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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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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 Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Joanna Simon's Sauce column broaches the topic of Chilean wine. Despite sales of the country's wine products booming, it was not the hot favourites that impressed at last month's Wines of Chile Awards in Santiago. Simon said the event where she judged "left producers reeling - not because the results were poor, but because they were not what was expected". No trophies or gold medals were given to Chardonnay, Simon continued, with the 2007 Alta Tierra winning out as the top Sauvignon regardless of its production in the Elqui Valley - "an area that didn't even grow grapes for wine until 2000". Her top picks include the 2007 Viognier, Anakena (8.49, Thresher) for its "seductive perfumes" and a 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Luis Felipe Edwards (5.99 Tesco).

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The Guardian

Published:  23 July, 2008

Your choice of glassware can enhance your wine selection immeasurably, Victoria Moore explains. And while being pernickety on this point will often mean you attract odd looks it is an important distinction to make, she continues. "Wine tastes better out of glasses that taper slightly at the rim" as "the tapering traps more of the aromas," Moore explains. And what has she being cracking open from the cellar this week? The 2005 Domaine du Colombier Chinon (Sainsbury's, 5.49) is commendable for its "gentle fragrance of red berries" while the 2006 Gavi Cristina Ascheri (Sainsbury's, 9.99) needs "a half-decent glass to reap the full benefit of this streamlined lemon- and grapefruit pith-scented Piedmont white".

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The Sunday Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Joanna Simon debates the merits of Beaujolais despite her belief that many leave it to one side at this time of year. Suited to "fish, fowl or meat", she mentions it is "the bottles that don't mention the B-word that are the best the region produces". And while we may be familiar with Fleurie, Brouilly and Morgon, it is instead worth investigating the likes of Chnas, Julinas and Chiroubles. She picks out the 2006 Julinas, Domaine du Clos du Fief, (9.99, Wheeler Cellars) and 2005 Chnas, Bernard Sant, (8.50, Stone, Vine & Sun) as good options.

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

TIM ATKIN MW has a 10ft hole in the middle of his dining room: he is having a wine cellar built.
You don't have to spend a fortune to start a modest wine collection,' he says, and recommends four reds at under 10, including: 2004 Marques de Casa Concha Merlot (7.99; Sainsbury's); 2004 Domaine de Fontsque, Corbires (8.99; Marks & Spencer); and 2005 Peter Lehmann Tempranillo, Barossa Valley (7.99; Waitrose).

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

To mark The Independent's retro issue, Anthony Rose is in nostalgia mode. He has managed to overcome his initial thoughts about Sherry, that it was "fit only for vicars, aunts and schoolmasters", and now realises that when it's chilled, and accompanied by salted almonds or olives, a good fino or manzanilla is "hard to beat".
Rose tries hard, but can't muster much enthusiasm for the Seventies, "an era of such cheerless sugar water as Blue Nun Liebfraumilch, not forgetting the awful Hirondelle, rustic Bulls Blood, confected pink Anjou ros, bland Piat d'Or and the pretensions of Mouton Cadet.
Turning his attention to the New World, his selections include 2005 Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel (8.99; Majestic, Oddbins, Waitrose); Jacob's Creek Chardonnay (5.95; widely available); and 2007 Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (5.99, down from 7.49; Morrisons, Sainsbury's).

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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Ignore 2006 Burgundy and lavish all your attention on Australian Pinot Noir, says Jane Macquitty. However this was not always her view, as she admitted "how typically presumptuous of the Aussies, I thought, to pick Pinot Noir as one of their six regional heroes". But on tasting 20 of the featured wines in this category at the Australia Day tasting, MacQuitty begrudgingly says she was "wrong, wrong, wrong". Her recommendations include the "classic" 2006 Ninth Island Pinot Noir (,9.99, Waitrose) and the 2006 Pirie South Pinot Noir (9.99, Majestic) for its spice. Jeffrey Grosset's 2006 Adelaide Hills (26.95, Liberty) is also "deliciously smoky".

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Nouveau Beaujolais reaches Tim Atkin's attention this week. The "quintessential young wine's" fall from grace has seen it go from "front page news" in the mid-Eighties to a current "non-event" in the UK. The problem with Nouveau stemmed from the fact that it undermined the Beaujolais reputation as a whole, he argues. And while Atkin concedes "there's nothing wrong with Nouveau" it is the "hilly area north of Lyon" that in fact produces the best wines. There are ten crus but it is usually easier to split these into three groups, he says. These comprise of: "The light, fragrant ones (Chiroubles and St Amour), the middle-weight ones (Cte de Brouilly, Chnas, Brouilly, Fleurie, Rgni) and the more serious ones (Julinas, Morgon and Moulin Vent)." His recommendations include a 2006 Fleurie, Domaine de la Madone (11.99, Thorman Hunt) for its "crunchy, summer-pudding-like" nature and a "complex and structured" 2006 Morgon, Marcel Lapierre (14.73, Bibendum).

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jancis Robinson's musings focus on Davos and a tasting she recently organised there. Her brief was "to choose some notable wines from countries or regions with a tradition of mining". In between visits from the president of Israel and Forbes magazine's seventh most powerful woman in the world, she even found time to identify the best of the bunch. 2001 Vergelegen Cabernet Sauvignon (12.99, buywineonline.co.uk) fared well - particularly notable as the only South African red at the tasting and also the least expensive. The tasting group's favourite and Jancis' third choice wine was the 2001 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River (43, winesearcher.com).

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The Independent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Like his contemporary at The Observer, Anthony Rose has also picked up on Anpaa's recent legal case - describing France's alcohol policy as a result of the draconian 1991 Evin Law. He continues: "It does seem odd that myopia and sanctimony should coexist in a nation synonymous with the production and consumption of many of the great wines of the world." Not to be discouraged though he selects the 2006 Porta Chardonnay (5.99, Threshers), the 2006 Gavi Cristina Ascheri (9.99, Sainsbury's) and the 2004 Domaine des Bosquets, Gigondas (14.95, Jeroboams).

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The Daily Mail

Published:  23 July, 2008

MATTHEW JUKES picks out seven affordable wines from California this week. Among them are 2004 Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel (8.99; Thresher) and 2005 Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir, Hahn Estates (6.99; Sainsbury's).
His Wine of the Week is 2005 Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Chardonnay (6.49-6.99; Sainsbury's, Tesco), which he says sits shoulder to shoulder with any other great Chardonnay at a similar price'.

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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

The results of the Wines of Argentina awards are this week's topic of conversation for JANCIS ROBINSON MW. She says the most exciting aspect is that only one of the trophy-winning wines costs more than 10 a bottle, although she expresses disappointment about the lack of white wines entered.
Wines worthy of mention include the 2006 Alamos Pinot Noir, Mendoza (6.99; Majestic) and the 2006 JF Lurton Chardonnay Reserva.

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The Daily Telegraph

Published:  23 July, 2008

As part of the launch of the Cloudy Bay locator', JONATHAN RAY has lunch with Tony Jordan, CEO of Cape Mentelle, Cloudy Bay and Green Point.
Ray gives a blow-by-blow account of his meal, from eel fillet to kangaroo loin, as well as a glowing report of the various Jordan wines served with each course. It reads like a LVMH advertorial.
However, Jordan makes an interesting point: The New World is expected to be constantly on the move but nobody asks when Chteau Margaux will produce a Syrah or Chardonnay ... our parent company in France demands innovation from us then when I ask what's new with Dom Prignon, they go all Gallic, shrug and mutter, "That's different."'

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The Daily Mail

Published:  23 July, 2008

Another with a nose for Wine Relief is MATTHEW JUKES. He is sufficiently committed to the event to be devoting two weeks to recommendations from the Wine Relief List. In theory, you can enjoy great wine, have a laugh on Red Nose Day and also do your bit for charity with ease if you follow these wines.'
This week his eight recommendations - all white - include: 2006 Stormhoek Sauvignon Blanc (4.49; Sainsbury's); 2006 Pirque Estate Sauvignon Blanc (6.99; Marks & Spencer); 2005 Brown Brothers Dry Muscat (5.29; Somerfield); and 2005 Tesco Gavi (5.99).

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The Daily Mail

Published:  23 July, 2008

MATTHEW JUKES looks back at the New Zealand tasting at Lord's cricket ground in London, which he claims was the best ever.
His Kiwi selection includes: 2006 Spy Valley Gewurztraminer from Marlborough (9.99; Highbury Vintners, Grapelands) and 2004 Palliser Pinot Noir from Martinborough (12.99; Justerini & Brooks, Philglas & Swigott). Wine of the week is the 2006 Felton Road Vin Gris Ros from Central Otago (14.95; Lea & Sandeman).

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

South Africa is the least exciting red wine producing country in the New World, states TIM ATKIN MW. Why are their red wines so mediocre when their whites are increasingly impressive, he asks. Except for likes of Vergelegen, Thelema, De Toren, Tokara, De Trafford, Boekenhoutskloof, Rustenberg, Bouchard Finlayson, Graham Beck, Fairview and Tulbagh Mountain, he says there is a huge lake of underwhelming reds. On the other hand, the Cape whites are getting better and better with old vine Chenin Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, Viognier, Riesing and especially Sauvignon Blanc proving exciting for Atkin.

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

TIM ATKIN MW, in giving his pick of 2006, detects a number of trends. He feels that alcohol levels may be falling in response to consumer demand and that oak levels are reducing. His wine country of the year is Spain, most improved is Chile and country to watch is Argentina. His grape variety of the year is Garnacha/Grenache; top winery, Peter Lehmann; winemaker, Aurelio Montes; wine region, Loire; supermarket, Waitrose; off-licence chain, Threshers/Wine Rack; by-the-case merchant, Majestic; mail order, The Wine Society; and independent merchant, Berry Bros & Rudd.

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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Who is the best wine producer in the world?' TIM ATKIN MW has his work cut out for him after this opening line, but he manages to whittle the possibilities down to six: Chteau Margaux in Bordeaux, Leroy in Burgundy, Chave in the Rhne, Gaja in Piedmont, JJ Prm in Germany and Kracher in Austria. No one from the New World gets a look in with this first line-up, but the tables are turned when the subject switches to dependable brands. Atkin's favourites for quantity, quality and consistency are: Jacob's Creek (Australia), Concha y Toro (Chile), Peter Lehmann (Australia), Montana (New Zealand), Torres (Spain) and Dourthe (France). Readers are urged to put this theory to the test and try a bottle of Peter Lehmann Shiraz, Barossa (7.99; Waitrose).

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Evening Standard

Published:  23 July, 2008

ANDREW NEATHER's white wines for Christmas include: Inycon Chardonnay (4.49; Tesco, Waitrose); 2005 Omrah Chardonnay from Western Australia (7.99; Oddbins); 2005 Sancerre Cuve des Anges, Domaine Foussier (6.66; Waitrose); 2004 Marquesa Valserrano Rioja Blanco (8.75; Stone Vin and Sun); and 2005 Te Mania Riesling from New Zealand's Nelson region (8.95; Swig). He also appears to have a 2004 Sainsbury's Chardonnay from California available from Majestic - surely a mistake...

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