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Wines in the press September 19-21

Published:  22 September, 2009

The Guardian

This month Majestic announced its new minimum purchase of six bottles and Victoria Moore says, "while it's great to be able to drop by and carry six bottles home, the move looks nervy."

The Guardian

This month Majestic announced its new minimum purchase of six bottles and Victoria Moore says, "while it's great to be able to drop by and carry six bottles home, the move looks nervy."

Moore wonders whether the gloomy economic climate means people are less prepared to make that "stocking up" outlay? Or if the move is connected to the recent 56% drop in pre-tax profits, blamed on the poor performance of its French stores and a fall in Champagne sales?

Moore says, chief executive Steve Lewis calls the move "strategic" and says it has been afoot for 18 months after carrying out a survey asking what their customers wanted which was to buy fewer bottles.


"Help! I fear I'm turning into a Prosecco snob," says Tim Atkin. There are lots of wines on the market that use the P word and the differences between them can be profound, he adds.

He says, "tasting a bog-standard example, made from high-yielding grapes grown on the flatlands north of Treviso, alongside one from a precipitous hillside in Valdobbiadene is like comparing Cristal with a supermarket Champagne".

Atkin explains, best area for Prosecco, which has its own appellation or DOC, is called Conegliano Valdobbiadene and from next April, Conegliano Valdobbiadene will be promoted to DOCG status alongside the likes of Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino, no less.

Atkin recommends the best blogs to read on the subject of wine which include,, and


In a recession it's not smart to be seen swigging Champagne, the Rolls-Royce of bubbles, says Jane MacQuitty.

Consequently, global champagne sales have fallen flat from a bubbly 339 million bottles two years ago to what many houses feel will be as low as 260 million bottles by the close of Christmas, she adds.

However, MacQuitty reports, the Champenois have "hit on a wheeze to keep prices high, stock scarce and their luxury image intact," which is to instruct the region's growers to leave a third of this year's harvest of grapes rotting on the ground and keep some 2009 wines in tank as a reserve meaning almost 50 per cent fewer bottles would be produced.

MacQuitty says she's uncertain whether the grape growers will comply, but forecasts "some epic cut-price deals". She recommends Louis Roederer's Brut Premier Champagne, (Majestic Wine £23.99 each until September 28, if you buy two instead of the single bottle price of £39.99).


Jonothan Ray tells us he's quite shocked to discover that he is what the NHS calls a binge drinker, someone who regularly drinks more than eight units of alcohol a day.

"It appears that I'm not alone," he adds. "At hospitals in my home town of Brighton, the number of people arriving with drink-related problems more than doubled over a four-year period."

He explains an adult male shouldn't exceed 3-4 units a day and a woman shouldn't exceed 2-3 units. "But I reckon I'm nearer nine or 10 units - about a bottle of wine - a day."

"It doesn't help that, just like the naughty child who does something wicked simply because he's been told not to, Ray says, "I often find myself having that extra glass just to spite the nannies who tell me I shouldn't."

Financial Times

Rock singer Kermit Lynch is regarded with something approaching awe by American wine lovers, says Jancis Robinson. He has spent four decades introducing them to handpicked wines off the beaten track via a keen grasp of commerce and newsletters which has been collated into a hardback called Inspiring Thirst.

In 1972 he turned his wine hobby into a job and gave up songwriting to open a shop and "ride that wine wave".

He says "I think we have two kinds of wine markets today. One of them is what I like to call the pop wines. I like pop music, music made to appeal to the popular taste. You've got your big oaky monsters trying to get 100 points. Then you have a winemaker trying to express his idea of what beauty is. Yeah, the pendulum has really swung back. For instance, a year ago we ran a sampler case of low alcohol wine. The response was enormous. I was shocked. There's a real backlash to those oaky monsters going on."