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Wines in the Press- April 1-4

Published:  06 April, 2010

Victoria Moore thinks a buttery mountain of truffle and pasta is one of the most sensual of eating experiences, but says you have to consider the wine.

She recommends Chiara Boschis' Barolo which is sold under the E Pira label. "You don't need to stand in her "malolactic room", or know that until recently her father stuck on all the labels by hand, or hear that her family has been making wine for nine generations, to realise that these are wines that are made like children are raised. You can smell and taste it - they seem alive."

Moore says try, the E Pira Barolo Cannubi 2005 (£63, Berry Bros). She admits it's expensive, but adds, Barolo is like Burgundy and you need to spend money or not bother.


"Imagine buying a case of wine. Now imagine removing six bottles and leaving them on Alistair Darling's doorstep." Tim Atkin MW, says, in effect this is the upshot of last week's Budget, which pushed duty to £1.69 a bottle.

He says it's the highest in Europe after Finland and Ireland, if you add VAT and tax on most wine, it now amounts to more than half of its retail price.

Plus other people who take their cut, apart from the Chancellor, means that a £4.99 bottle probably contains only 40p worth of wine. The exchange rate hasn't helped matters either, he adds.

Atkin asks, how much should you spend? He answers, as much as you can afford. "The wine drinker's sweet spot, where true value is to be found, lies somewhere between £5.99 and £8.99," says Atkin. "In that range, you can find great bottles from almost anywhere."

Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW says at long last there are exciting new developments in Chinese-grown wine. On a previous visit in 2008, she says she had been deeply depressed by the fact that the quality of the Chinese wine had stagnated.

But on this last trip she encountered a white wine, Symphony, made at Grace Vineyard from 100% Chinese grapes that she says would be a perfect introduction to wine for anyone.

She says the idea for this lively, young off-dry Muscat came from Torres China.

Robinson was also heartened to come across some "truly inspiring" red wines. She says the Jade Valley, 2006 Pinot Noir, "was the biggest shock of all: it was delicate, fruity, perfumed and did actually taste of Pinot Noir". Which she adds is quite a feat for a Pinot Noir grown anywhere.


Anthony Rose attended recent annual showcases of France and Spain and examines them against each other.

He says with a 105 page catalogue, France looked a weighty proposition, but adds it paled into insignificance next to the 206 of Spain. It's been a double blow for France explains Rose, with news that South Africa had pushed its supermarket wine sales into fifth place and its exports plunged by almost a fifth last year.

In addition, he says France's first TV wine channel is under threat from its tough anti-alcohol laws. In his opinion the atmosphere at the tasting was subdued, whereas there was a contrasting buzz at the Spanish event.

Rose says, the new wave whites from Galicia, Rueda, Basque country and Catalonia looked, "increasingly convincing".


Here we are at Easter, the crocuses are out and spring might have arrived at last, says Jonathon Ray.

He adds, for once he shall be looking no further than the high street for the accompanying wines. Ray says: "the likes of Oddbins and The Co-operative are on something of a roll at the moment and even Spar, of all places, is having a welcome spring clean of its list."

Ray recommends Spain's Espelt Costa Brava Cariñena-Garnacha 2008 (£4.99 reduced from £5.99 until April 13, Co-op). He says the Co-op is going "great guns" at the moment under head buyer, Paul Bastard.

Château Henry de France, 2007, is another on his list (£6.99; Spar). Ray says he doesn't think he's ever recommended a Spar wine before, but thinks things have changed, thanks to wine buyer Laura Jewell.