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Wines in the press - May 4-8

Published:  08 May, 2012

The Guardian

One question Fiona Beckett often gets asked is what wine to drink for a wedding.

An obvious suggestion is to drink a favourite wine or a bottle that means something to you, she says. Perhaps one from a country or region where you first holidayed together. If nothing fits into that category, go for something that will appeal to the greatest number of people. That is, nothing too acidic in the case of whites, and not too heavily oaked a red. For a summer wedding Beckett recommends the Côtes de Duras Blanc, Château La Grave Béchade 2011 (£6.95, The Wine Society). It's an "elderflowery" Sauvignon Blanc that drinks well on its own or with seafood. For a crowdpleasing choice of red she recommends, Château Jouaninel Fronton 2009, a "soft, fruity", Bordeaux-like red from south-west France (£6.99 if you buy two or more from Majestic). If you're getting married around the jubilee, there should be plenty of cut-price English bubbly to choose from. Aldi has the "refreshingly crisp" Three Choirs Classic Cuvée Brut (on offer at £10.99 from May 17). An important question is how much should you order? That depends on what time of day the wedding takes place and how long it's due to last. She advises using the calculator on

The Observer

David Williams recommends his wines of the week which take the form of two "unexpectedly" good-value wines from the high street and a treat from a specialist. Minarete Ribera del Duero, Spain 2010 (£5.49, Aldi) is a "very rare" sub-£6 version that is a bit of a find. It's surprisingly good: soft, full and rich, with plenty of damson and cherry fruit, and a touch of mocha-flavoured oak, he says. Palataia Pinot Noir, Pfalz, Germany 2011 (£8.99, Marks & Spencer) Is a wine that Williams keeps coming back through different vintages. It is elegant, succulent, silky and soft strawberry-scented, he says.
Margaret River already has a reputation for being Australia's answer to Bordeaux and it's usually the reds that tend to earn the acclaim, but its white blends, using the same grape varieites as Bordeaux, can also be pretty special, says Williams. The Voyager Estate Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon Margaret River, Western Australia 2011 (£16.17, Justerini & Brooks) is one of the best examples of the style he has tried.

The Telegraph

Portugal produces a "fantastically diverse" offering value to those looking for an everyday drink and interest for the nerds, says Victoria Moore. The problem is "selling them," say supermarket buyers (off the record). Robert Joseph ( recently underlined the point that no one is "indispensable". He was explaining that Portugal was "facing a removal from the scene - or at least from the shelves of Majestic" after the generic marketing body pulled out of subsidising promotions. Portugues wines have some brilliant champions. But it still hasn't captured the hearts and minds of ordinary wine drinkers, says Moore. She likes the country's individuality, and the fact it has never succumbed wholesale to the "lollipop style" of winemaking.

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW, says Brian Schmidt is the only vigneron she knows whose working pattern tends to be dictated by the phases of the moon, but he is deeply sceptical of biodynamics. He is a cosmologist, and a Nobel laureate for physics and has a vineyard in Canberra called Maipenrai. Robinson asked Schmidt what surprised him, as a scientist, about the wine world. "I'm actually surprised how technical a lot of commercial wine production is. Things are done very much from an industrial chemistry point of view at certain price points, but that's not the impression you get with wine. I suppose it makes sense, because if you want to make a reasonable $7 bottle of wine, it does take a lot of that sort of skill." He adds, on the artisan side of town, it surprises him how some winemakers can leave the science out completely. "I think that's to their detriment. For instance, if the pH of a wine is 3.9, nothing is going to save it. Bacteria are bound to take that wine down eventually. I would have thought that's something useful to know."

The Independent

Terry Kirby picks three modestly priced reds for sharing any barbecue this year. Boas Vinhas Tinto 2009, (£9.15, ) is one to drink with a butterfly leg of lamb, smeared with anchovies and rosemary, due to its wild red fruits, herb and spice flavours, he says. The Extra Special Pinotage 2010 (£6.98, Asda) is an "excellent example" of South Africa's best-known indigenous grape from the Fairhills winery, which is committed to Fairtrade principles, he says. One of the best bargains around according to Kirby, is Bushland Vines Barossa Valley Shiraz 2010, (£4.99, Aldi) which he says has big, robust New World Shiraz fruit and chocolate flavours, balanced alongside a restrained palate.