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Wines in the press - September 2-4

Published:  05 September, 2011

The Guardian

If you're taking a late UK holiday, there's a chance you'll find yourself somewhere where the only place to buy wine is a corner shop or small supermarket, says Fiona Beckett.

If you're taking a late UK holiday, there's a chance you'll find yourself somewhere where the only place to buy wine is a corner shop or small supermarket, says Fiona Beckett.

What to buy is the problem, she adds. As a rule small shops don't run the discounts the big boys do, which means that some branded wines, can be way overpriced. Also, turnover can also be slow and storage conditions less than ideal. Beckett tasted a couple of Spar own-label Italian whites the other day - a Garganega Pinot Grigio and a Soave, from the Cantine di Soave ( £5.29) - they were fine, she says, but there was no vintage on either bottle, so the ones you find might not be. Beckett says a better bet is the "deliciously plumy" Ursa Maior Rioja Reserva 2005 (£9.59, Spar). Beckett particularly likes the Co-op's South American wines, especially the smooth, lush Chilean Fairtrade Carmenère 2010 (£5.99) which would be excellent with end-of-season barbecues.

The Telegraph

Translating a physical taste experience into a sentence when we talk about wine can be a perplexing, says Victoria Moore. For instance, Emily O'Hare, a sommelier at the River Café, talked about seeing wine in architectural terms, I paused at her statement that a certain Barolo made her think of the Colosseum. Similarly, Moore says she thinks about wine in terms of shape almost before noticing smell and taste. Drinking an utterly glass of St Cosme Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2010 France (£16.99, Philglas & Swiggot) recently Moore was particularly struck by the confluence of a rich, detailed texture that seemed to be happily contained within its "smooth, clean, parallel walls", she adds. Occasionally Moore receives an email from a reader enraged by a flight of fancy. But to her the whole point of wine is that it is supposed to give pleasure. "It can be an intellectual as well as a sensual pursuit but it is there to be appreciated and this, I find, is best done with a sense of play (though not silliness) and joy that in some earnest circles is too easily lost."

The Financial Times

Once dismissed as a frivolous irrelevance, pink Champagne is now being taken seriously. But is causing big headaches for producers because the weather in July and early August was grey and humid, prejudicing the health and quality of Pinot Noir and Meunier, says Jancis Robinson MW. This has been the second summer in a row when both the quality and quantity of red wine grapes in Champagne have been disappointing. But given all the effort that the Champenois are putting into making these rosé wines, what exactly is the point of them? Asks Robinson. "In my view, not much, in many cases", she says. In fact, she would go so far as to say that the average quality of pink Champagne is lower than that of the average white. "But in the world of Champagne, image has always been more important than reality."

The Sunday Telegraph

There are plenty of women winemakers around but very few female distillers, says Susy Atkins. So it was good to meet the rare exception, master distiller Joanne Moore of gin producer G & J Greenall. Atkins says she's hardly a gin guzzler but she has fallen hard for Bloom, the new premium gin that Moore has created which has the addition of other quirky botanicals as well as the traditional juniper. Moore is not the only woman making gin. Gillian Macdonald of the Penderyn distillery in Wales. Atkins thinks her spirit tastes different, more steely and mineral - which, ahe adds quickly dismissed any notion she had about women's gins sharing similar qualities. She recommends Brecon Special Reserve, Penderyn, Wales (House of Fraser, and Welsh branches of Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda and Waitrose, from £15.99) and Bloom Premium London Dry, G & J Greenall (Booths,, selected Waitrose, £24.99).

The Mail

You might think wine lovers only ever buy spankingly expensive 'fine wine', but Olly Smith is amazed - and delighted - by how many in the wine trade seem more interested in finding off-the-beaten-track gems that cost less but offer great finesse. Alsace is a haven of hidden gems for fine-wine lovers, he says. With top producers such as Hugel, Zind- Humbrecht, Ostertag, Kreydenweiss and Trimbach making white wines of mind-blowing quality. In particular, Smith recommends, Trimbach Cuvée Frédéric Emile 2005, (£33,