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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

A bloke in a smart suite irritates TIM ATKIN MW at the autumn Marks & Spencer tasting. He vaguely recognises him, and when he asks our Tim what he'd recommend, Atkin grudgingly sends him off to quaff the Marks & Sparks Ribera del Duero. Then the pound coin drops and our man at The Obs realises that the bloke is none other than M&S saviour, ber retailer Stuart Rose. He buys a case of Tim's recommendation - not bad from a man who is known for keeping a serious cellar. Atkin notes that M&S wines used to be known for two things: hefty mark-ups and a safety-first policy. The few highlights were: Champagne, Chablis and Sherry. But then things changed and at least a dozen wines wouldn't look out of place on a fine wine merchant's list', although he still regards Marks as weak on Australian and Chilean reds. His top six are: 2005 Darling Estate Drkheimer Michelsberg Riesling (6.99); 2004 Saint Aubin Premier Cru, Domaine du Pimont Les Charmois (14.99); 1996 Cuve Orpale Champagne Brut (29.99); 2005 Domaine de la Meynarde, Plan de Dieu, Ctes du Rhne Villages (5.49); 2004 Nero d'Avola, Sicilia Corte Ibla (9.99); and 2004 Nos Riqueza, Ribera del Duero (9.99). Atkin concludes by saying that he'll probably join Rose in buying a case of the latter.