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Wines in the press, February 2 -5

Published:  06 February, 2012

The Guardian
Spending less on wine if you pay for it up front, or buying en primeur, seems on the face of it a pretty good deal, says Fiona Beckett.

But it doesn't appeal to her, because the tank or barrel sample is not necessarily what's going to end up in the bottle a few years later. As importer, David Gleave of Liberty Wines, puts it: "A lot can go wrong in the journey from barrel to bottle - there can be a malfunction of the bottling line, for instance, and the wine can get exposed to too much air. You can't predict that from a tank sample." The best advice Beckett can give is to be careful who you deal with. Never buy from an unsolicited approach. Get on the mailing list of established specialists, such as Berry Bros & Rudd, Goedhuis & Co, Flint Wines and OW Loeb. And look out for lesser known producers. She recommends Sylvain Loichet's "mouthwatering" Ladoix Bois des Gréchons 2010, a "mini Corton-Charlemagne", which still has cases at £180 in bond (or £225 duty paid).

The Independent

Terry Kirby's wines of the week are three February soul-warming reds. Terra Noble Gran Reserva Carmenère 2009, Maule, Chile is part of a small range of New World bottles on the list of a small and discerning retailer which previously specialised entirely in European wines. Kirby says it's "juicy and fulsome, with a great combination of forward fruit and decent structure (£11.45, For a midweek meal he goes for Jean Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône Bonne Ruche 2009 which goes well with simple winter casseroles or Merguez sausages (£9.99, His bargain basement wine is Zalze Shiraz Mourvèdre Viognier 2010, from Stellenbosch in South Africa has blackberry and dark-red fruits, and a touch of oak (£5.99 normally £7.49, Waitrose).

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW is "truly scared" by Chile and its pace of change. Peter Richards MW and Michael Cox UK head of Wines of Chile, told her about seven new areas where vines have recently been planted, which Robinson had never heard of. She then heard about the Movi movement, a grouping of ambitious small-scale wine producers, who in 2009 realised they could create much more noise together than by operating independently. A more geographically and varietally specific association of producers is Vignadores de Carignan - they have joined together to bottle a range wines obeying the rules of a single appellation, Vigno. The rules it has agreed on include a mandatory 24-month ageing period, dry-farmed bush vines, at least 65% Carignan, and all vines are to be at least 30 years old (although new varieties can be grafted on to old roots). Robinson tasted some ranging from 2007 to 2010, including one that included a touch of Chardonnay in the fermentation vat. None is less than 14% alcohol. They are all vastly different from the Chilean norm - much more natural, she says.

The Mail on Sunday

Valentine's Day approaches, but it's not just about purchasing and presenting a top-notch bottle of wine, it's also about how you serve it and what food you pair it with, says Olly Smith. Fizz is mandatory and if you want to appear elegantly understated and in the know, he suggests an English fizz such as Camel Valley Rosé. He also recommends a chilled glass of Tesco Finest Dessert Sémillon paired with a slice or two of Roquefort or Stilton, which is his "secret path to paradise". In his opinion, a red such as Passopisciaro 2007, available from Corney & Barrow, is irresistible when paired with fillet steak. Whatever you decide, aim to serve at 7-10°C for whites and 15-18°C for reds.

The Observer

David Williams's wines of the week include: Château David Bordeaux Supérieur, France 2010 (£6.49, Sainsbury's). The 2010 vintage was a very good one for Bordeaux, says Williams, and while for the top few dozen producers it meant huge prices, most producers operate in a much humbler sphere. With its succulent blackcurrant fruit and crunchy texture, this is classic claret to enjoy with a Sunday roast, he says. Mas Oller Blau, Empordà, Spain (£10.99, Virgin Wines, from an up-and-coming Catalonian producer. A blend of Garnacha with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, it has a glossy, supple texture and vivid black and red berry fruit tinged with liquorice and spice. Lastly, Moret-Nominé Rully, Burgundy, France 2009 (£18, The Vintner, a "delicious" Chardonnay, with a characteristically Burgundian fine balance between acidity and richness.