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Wines in the press - September 9-11

Published:  13 September, 2011

The Guardian

Given the hype that surrounds the annual release of the top growths, it's easy to forget how affordable most Bordeaux is, and how much of it there is, says Fiona Beckett.

Modern tastes may run more to lusher Cabernets and Merlots from, say, Chile which is perhaps why so many producers are now releasing wines at 14%. But Beckett doesn't think it suits a traditional Bordeaux medium-bodied, food-friendly wine. Tasting her way through 30-odd wines under £10 she thinks it's more reliable than it's ever been and there were "surprisingly" few dud bottles. Beckett even found two sub £5 Bordeaux wines that were "perfectly drinkable". Lidl's 2010 Bordeaux (£3.69) and Aldi's Bordeaux Supérieur 2009 (£4.99). At the higher end and just nudging the £10 mark, Beckett recommends Chateau Civrac's Element 2009 (£8.75 Wadebridge Wines, £8.91 The Sampler and £8.95 Vinoteca), "a fresh, fruity versatile Merlot you could easily drink with a robust fish dish such as roast cod and bacon or seared tuna."

The Telegraph

Victoria Moore says she's been boycotting Naked Wines, partly because the name grates so much. But she decided to have a closer look at the company. It recently announced it had increased its turnover from £4 million in 2009 to £10m (with a loss of £1m) in 2010, and says it expects to double again this year to £20m, so must be doing something right.
Chief executive, Rowan Gormley's vision for Naked Wines, owes something to the Amazon model in that it's an online-only retailer that asks customers to rate purchases and encourages drinkers to chat to each other, posting reviews and ratings online. It's highly interactive. The deal with 'wine angels' is that you pay in £20 each month towards the next order and in return "get better wine for supporting winemakers directly". Moore disagrees with this on the grounds that their access to wine is no greater than that of a non-wine angel, and Moore wasn't "wowed" by the 12 samples she tried.

She thinks there's a lot of smoke and mirrors. Moore found only one wine - Castillo de Tafalla Rosado Garnacha 2010 Spain, which she thought "lovely" even at the non-angel price of £6.99. Tesco wine chief Dan Jago once tweeted that Naked Wines is reminiscent of Ukip in that it "appeals passionately to very few people", says Moore. She adds she is not one of those.

The Independent

Terry Kirby has chosen the best bottles to buy that show the stamp of individual winemakers. For Sunday lunch, he chooses Clos de los Siete Mendoza 2008 (£12.99, Waitrose). In an attempt to create a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon in Argentina, the Gallic consultant Michel Rolland has achieved something more akin to a big and bold New World red, he says. Nevertheless, Kirby thinks it's extremely enjoyable, with very forward fruit flavours, velvety chocolate, fig and spice undertones and a long finish. A rare steak and fat chips are the order here, he adds. For a midweek meal, he recommends Six Hats Pinotage Rosé 2010, (£6.99, Made by South African wine-maker Charles Back, under the Fairtrade banner, Kirby says he has tamed the almost-wild taste of the country's native Pinotage grape to produce a full-bodied, food-friendly rosé, with terrific elegant fruit flavours. For his bargain basement, he says Gérard Bertrand's Domaine De Fontesque Corbières 2006 has masses of autumnal brambly, smoky flavours rolling around in the mix of mainly Carignan and Grenache. (£7.99 reduced from £9.99 until 2 October, Marks & Spencer).

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW says it is generally agreed that the 2010 Bordeaux campaign was mismanaged, but it would have been a complete disaster without the Chinese. Of the £30m-worth of en primeur sold by Farr Vintners, 40% by value was sold by its Hong Kong office. The Chinese wine lover is now a very real reality, she adds. Robinson was asked to meet and provide a wine tasting for a group of senior Chinese investment bankers. Of the wines she supplied the tasters were not generally impressed by non-European offerings, and liked the Rieslings, especially the Robert Weil Kiedrich Gräfenberg Erstes Gewächs 2005 Rheingau. They admired the dryness of the young red Burgundy, a Domaine Coche-Dury, Bourgogne Rouge 2008. The favourite was the grandest and oldest, the fifth-growth Pauillac from the Mouton stable, Château d'Armailhac 1986.