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Wines in the press, January 11-14

Published:  14 January, 2013

The Guardian

Fiona Beckett says one of the many (unnecessary) anxieties people have about buying wine is whether they're buying the "right" vintage.

She adds it is true there are vintage variations, some dramatic - for example, Yquem hasn't made its 2012 vintage, nor has English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber. However, Beckett says better weather forecasting and modern winemaking techniques do make it possible to turn out perfectly respectable wines in a less than dazzling year. Plus what is generally considered a poor year may in fact turn out to drink well with time.

Beckett says she has tasted some "really attractive" 2007s recently, including Ventisquera Vertice 2007 (£19.50, from Chile and Bordeaux's Château Sénéjac Haut Médoc 2007 (£12.99, Majestic if you buy two or more).

The Observer

David Williams picks three European wines for his top choices this week. Alsace is fast becoming Williams's favourite white wine region. He says during a visit last year he was bowled over by the consistent quality on offer. It may not offer much in bargain-basement wines, but in the £8-£15 bracket it's hard to beat, he says.

Williams recommends Finest Alsace Riesling 2011 (£7.99, Tesco). Made for Tesco by co-operative Cave de Turckheim, Williams describes it as "intensely aromatic with white flowers and lime zest, and real zing and zip on the palate".

His second choice is Bodegas Ochoa 8A Mil Gracias Graciano 2008 (£11.99, Hennings Wine Merchants) from Navarra. Made from the grape variety Graciano, it is a "deliciously different" red. Deep, dark and vivid in colour and flavour, it dispalys blackberry and pepper spice on the palate, he says.

Lastly, Bénédicte and Stéphane Tissot Savagnin (£23,, from Arbois in Jura, reminds him of dry sherry: though it's not as strong (13.5% rather than 15% abv). Williams says it has the same "intensely nutty, salty savoury character". Try it with a hard cheese and see what you think, he says.

The Telegraph

Certain white wines, and many rosés, are indisputably summery, says Susy Atkins. Marketing folk might try to persuade us to drink them all year round, but who wants a bone-dry Provençal rosé or ice-cold Muscadet in mid-January? German Riesling, though, while light and crisp, is different, she says. The refreshing apple and citrus flavours, and white-blossom scent, are what pull Atkins in. In addition, it's the subtle dab of honey, and hint of medium-sweet combine well with pork, sausages, roast chicken and sweet-and-sour or spicy recipes.

Another reason to drink German Rieslings is that, although they taste intense and succulent, they are lower in alcohol (expect between 8% and 12% abv). She suggests Dr L Riesling 2011 (Majestic, £7.99) from the Mosel or The Naked Grape Riesling 2011 (Waitrose or Booths, from £8.49) from Pfalz.

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW says if you're a Burgundy lover, you've got to love Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier, maker of "particularly fine" Chambolle-Musigny. He says his aim is to "make wine for people who want to drink them, not necessarily keep them". Robinson says in general the 2011s from the Côte de Nuits, are unlikely to break any records for longevity. The potential alcohol levels in the 2011s are generally the lowest in many a year (around 12% abv). But strictly on the basis of what she has seen so far, she is reasonably enthusiastic.

"These are not wines that will have to be cellared for decades before they reveal themselves. They are fruity wines characterised by truly Burgundian delicacy. It may not be the most persistent but the wines express the nuances between different appellations and vineyards, and should drink well over the next five to 10 years while we wait for the three vintages made immediately before 2011 to develop fully in bottle," she says.