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Wines in the press - 22-25 September

Published:  27 September, 2011

The Guardian
Fiona Beckett is ready to switch to "fat" whites for the autumn.

When describing a wine as fat, Beckett means rich, lush whites with more weight and less acidity than their skittish summer counterparts. For example; wines that display flavours of stone fruits, rather than citrus and plenty of butter, vanilla and toast. Some grape varieties lend themselves better to this plumper style than others, Chardonnay most obviously, due to oak, she says. The same is true of Viognier and its fellow Rhône and Languedoc cohorts, Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc or Gris. For instance: Sainsbury's new Taste the Difference Languedoc White (£7.99). Chenin Blanc, when made from low-yielding old bush vines, acquires a sensuous peachiness, says Beckett. She recommends the "lush, buttery" De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2009, Stellenbosch (now £13.59).

The Financial Times

Of all the red Bordeaux vintages to be drunk now, 1996 is a particularly good bet if you like mature, traditional Claret - especially from the left bank appellations in the Médoc and Graves, says Jancis Robinson MW. Earlier this year she tasted virtually all the 1996 classed growths of the Médoc, and was impressed by what she found. There is certainly no excess of ripeness about the best of the 1996s - but the resulting wines have developed real complexity from all their years in bottle and seem to have just the right amount of well-developed fruit and weight to be classified as quintessential red Bordeaux, she says.

The Daily Telegraph
Two Indian wines have arrived on the shelves at Waitrose, claims Victoria Moore. Much of the country's wine is made in Maharashtra, India's third largest state, a vast tract of land that counts Mumbai as its capital. Waitrose's Zampa Syrah 2008 (£8.49 on offer at £10.99) comes from the cooler high altitudes of the Nashik district in Maharashtra, where it is made by a South African who has previously worked at Mulderbosch in Stellenbosch as well as completing winemaking stints in New Zealand, Margaret River and St Emilion. It has an impressively smooth fruitiness, but slightly rasping, sandpapery oak, says Moore. Waitrose's other Indian wine, the white, is a Viognier called Ritu, which is made in Baramati at a winery owned by the giant United Breweries Group. It's a golden, honeyed-style of Viognier rounded off with a crisp finish. I'd describe both as being "good for an Indian wine", says Moore. But adds, she won't be rushing out to buy them.

The Sunday Telegraph
Damsons are a girl's best friend, says Susy Atkins. She adores it not only for squashing into jams and puddings, but because in her opinion it creates one of the very best home-made drinks and is great to pair with Diana Henry's sublime damson desserts. If you prefer a lighter, crisper drink with her Eton mess, try an elegant Loire gem, or a riper-tasting Australian botrytis Semillon. Atkins recommends: Bramley and Gage Damson Gin, England (Waitrose, £12.19 for 35cl). Tesco Finest Australian Dessert Semillon 2007 (£6.49 for 35cl), or Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux 2009, Loire, France (Berry Bros & Rudd, £36.25).

The Daily Mail

Grapes each impart a certain character to wine - if you can get a handle on the basics and find one you like, then you can explore more widely, says Olly Smith. Pinot Grigio from Italy and beyond is hugely popular, but there are oodles of other invigorating Italian whites to investigate made from grape varieties such as Fiano, Falanghina, Verdicchio, Grillo, Pecorino, Greco di Tufo and Grecanico. How about tasting some gloriously fresh Spanish Albariño, or southern French Picpoul de Pinet? Wines such as these are now widely available, and although each is subtly different, broadly they're all bright, crisp wines that are delicious served chilled as an aperitif or alongside dishes of fish and shellfish. If you're bonkers about the citrus twist of Sauvignon Blanc, try a more leaner French Sancerre, or a more appley-fresh South African Sauvignon Blanc from Iona. Wine is a giant network of flavours - learning about grape varieties and the similarities as well as differences will help steer your choices in the wine aisles towards bottles that build your repertoire - and ensure you discover new treats, says Smith.