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Wines in the press - March 2-5

Published:  05 March, 2012

The Guardian
Are the descriptions wine writers use helpful? Asks Fiona Beckett.

According to wine research company, it turns out few words used to describe wine, mean much to the average wine buyer, particularly those using comparisons to individual fruits. We wine writers may think gooseberry is an apt description for the flavours in a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but a lot of consumers may not get gooseberry, or even like gooseberries, she says. Words that are favoured by consumers include light, crisp and refreshing for whites, and smooth, fruity and full-bodied for reds. But since so many wines fall into those categories, how do you then distinguish between them? Beckett experiments with Hilltop Cserszegi Füszeres 2011 (£5.25, The Wine Society). She found it intensely citrussy (lemon and grapefruit peel on the nose, fresh lemon juice on the palate), but since citrus doesn't apparently resonate much with the public, she'll describe it as fresh and zesty, with a flowery twist.

The Daily Telegraph

Victoria Moore dithered over drinks at the bar of the Apollo Theatre, in London. She couldn't decide on what she terms as "Awful Chardonnay or Awful Pinot Grigio." She chose 'Awful Pinot Grigio', on the grounds that it would taste of less. Why are most theatre bars, so bad, and so painfully expensive? She asks. Is it because the management know they've a captive audience? Bars that do get it right - such as The Pit at the Old Vic or downstairs at the Royal Court - become destinations in their own right, which must be a useful source of income. It also seems to de-ghettoise the experience of going to the theatre. If only they got it right more often, she adds.

The Independent
Once a year the 11 members of the Primum Familiae Vini ( pull out the stops to show just what their name means to them and should mean to us, says Anthony Rose. The family group formed in 1993 by Miguel Torres and Robert Drouhin regard themselves as the elite of the wine world. They represent quality and personality in a wine world dominated by commercialism and the need to keep shareholders happy. Continuity was there for all to see on their recent lunch in London. Rose says over a 1963 Graham's Vintage Port, Paul Symington of Dow's, Graham's and Warre's, said "there isn't a bad wine". Rose says he couldn't disagree.

Financial Times

Californian physician Harin Padma-Nathan treated himself to 18 bottles of Pétrus 1982 and later decided to sell. He was horrified to find Christie's staff refused to take the bottles, citing disparities between the labels on his bottles and those used by the château itself. Fraudulent wine is not confined to the US, says Jancis Robinson MW. In China it is "jaw-dropping". Even Hong Kong, has been seriously infected by some of the grandest fakes. The Bordelais have been taking steps generically to fight fraud, but the fake rate has now reached such a level in the US that the FBI is investigating several cases. Recently, thanks to the internet, lawyer Don Cornwell was able to share concerns with thousands of connoisseurs just four days before the February 8 London sale, organised by Spectrum of California, and Vanquish, London. After which some 20 lots of what looked like some of the finest, rarest Burgundies, were all withdrawn from auction.

The Daily MailOlly Smith often receives general day-to-day health concerns from readers who have written about what their daily glass of vino is doing to their survival chances. He says, there are two sides to this. His first point is to reassure readers that when deployed responsibly, to him wine is a joyful, celebratory, civilised and positive cultural icon. Of course, in large quantities, alcohol is problematic for health. Professor Roger Corder is the author of The Wine Diet, a scientist and advocate of drinking less but better quality. He is in no doubt that there is a link between polyphenols found in red wine and improved blood pressure and vascular health. Red grape varieties with thick skins such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat, made in more traditional methods in places like southwest France seem to score more highly in Corder's system, notably French Madiran. How about that label 'contains sulphites' ? Some people claim to suffer allergic reactions to sulphites, 'natural' wines which aim to minimise sulphites might be worth investigating, along with biodynamic and organic wines, he says.