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Wines in the press, October 5-8

Published:  08 October, 2012

The Guardian

Knowing where regional boundaries are - especially when it comes to France, is a handy piece of knowledge to have, according to Fiona Beckett.

It helps you to spot the under-valued minor appellation such as Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux (formerly Côtes de Castillon) which recently went through a reclassification. It borders Saint-Émilion and producers often make both. For instance Château Cap de Faugères's Castillon vineyards are just over the road from its sister property, Château Faugères, whose wines were recently elevated to grand cru classé status, says Beckett. The Cap de Faugères 2007 was served at a dinner to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee back in May, which Beckett thinks was shrewd buying by the royal household. As a result, there doesn't seem to be any around, but as an alternative she suggests the "excellent" 2009 vintage from Christopher Piper (£19.78). It's the same with Château La Grand Maye, she says. Its lush, plummy Côtes de Castillon 2009 is currently £95 a case in bond (or £11.88 a bottle, once duty is paid) from Justerini & Brooks, which also has the "even better" 2010 for £75 a case en primeur, or a little over half the price of their Château Valade Saint-Émilion.

The Mail on Sunday
Olly Smith recently visited Greece and has long been a fan of its boutique wines made from local grapes, Malagousia or Assyrtiko. He'd love Greek wines to be more of an emerging market, but finding them on the shelves back home can sometimes feel like hunting a Minotaur, he says. Other markets are blossoming rapidly and in his opinion Chinese wine is going to be huge. With big names and investors such as Moët & Chandon piling in, and it's only a matter of time before we're sipping a glass of Chinese with our takeaway, he says. Smith says Brazil is also boasting some impressive potential. Fizz in particular has caught his eye - in his opinion producers such as Miolo are worth keeping an eye on. Croatia is beginning to produce some absolute belters, with a good selection in Marks & Spencer, including Golden Valley Grasevina 2011. Turkey too has a huge number of local grape varieties - including the white grape Narince and red Okuzgozu or hunt Kalecik Karasi, which reminds him of rich Rioja. Closer to home, Smith says English wine is on the up and where fizz has blazed a trail, white and rosé wines are following with a real sense of pride and confidence that our producers are getting better and better.

The Independent

Showcasing their new "so-called" premium wine ranges in the same week in September were the big German discounters Aldi and Lidl, says Anthony Rose. Lidl featured its new Wine Cellar and Aldi its Exquisite Collection, a seven-strong range chosen in response to Tesco's Finest, Sainsbury's Taste the Difference, Asda's Extra Special and Morrisons' The Best. Aldi's Exquisite Collection is not on shelf until late November, but Rose says he was pleasantly surprised by a handful of good wines which includes Philizot Champagne Brut NV (£12.99). He found the Toro Loco Tempranillo (£3.59) all you could expect at the price in a gluggy, juicy, strawberryish mould that would blow most Beaujolais out of the water. He also suggests Grapevine Merlot, (£2.99) as good for a penny-pinching autumn of Christmas party. Rose wishes he could say that expectations were equally exceeded by Lidl but he says its Champagne which was the same price as Aldi's was not a patch on it in fact Rose thinks the whole line up in comparison was "bland and uninspiring".

The Daily Telegraph

Victoria Moore is talking about how we buy wine. While much of the wine we drink at home is bought at the supermarket our shopping habits have changed. Once we did one "big shop" a week, now, apparently we make repeat trips making last-minute decisions about what to eat and who to eat it with, which makes for a lot of not very well-thought-out impulse buying of wine, she says. It means we buy brands that have paid for prominent display stands, promo wines or we pluck something straight from the fridge. Moore's advice is to start stocking up which she says requires forward planning. She says there are some extraordinarily good cheapies in the big discounters such as Aldi and Lidl, Aldi having by far the better range. But if you're doing pick and mix, why not do it properly? Moore suggests taking something from Waitrose's cannily stocked fridge, or buying six from Majestic. Or you can always step into your local wine merchant, and take advantage of the assistant's interest in wine to steer you to a prized bottle.