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Wines in the press - August 19-22

Published:  24 August, 2010

The Guardian
Victoria Moore is talking about all the good bottles of the summer she hasn't been able to squeeze into the theme, another column, or that have been tasted too late to get a mention.

She thinks a classy Chardonnay that's not too expensive is always a useful wine to have around because it's so good with food. For years she's been relying on Les Quatre Clochers Chardonnay Reserve Limoux 2006 from France (£7.79, Tesco). "Why bother with the lower grades of Burgundy when Chardonnay from elsewhere can be so subtle, structured and such good value?" Moore approaches sub-£10 clarets with trepidation, but recommends Chateau Cabanes Graves 2008 (£9.99, Oddbins). If there's more money to spend then try Te Kahu Gimblett Gravels Vineyard 2005, New Zealand (£12.99, M&S). It was Moore's favourite out of more than 100 wines at the last M&S tasting.

The Times
Tim Atkin MW, says the first rule of pessimism is that when things are bad they invariably get worse. "Just ask Sarah Ferguson or the nine Sherry bodegas who were recently fined e 6.7m by Spain's National Competition Commission." The Consejo Regulador, have also been implicated. Besides that cellars are full of stocks of unsold wine and the price of grapes is at an all-time low. The situation is particularly bad in the UK too, where the drink appears to be in decline thanks to its association with vicars, tweedy academics and sweet, sickly styles labelled as "cream". In other places, such as Japan and the United States, Sherry it's  gaining ground as a wine that works brilliantly with food. But sherry has its supporters here, most notably, Heston Blumenthal. He claims that certain compounds in Sherry, known as diketopiperazines (DKPs), accentuate the flavours of foods, such as cheese, mushrooms, meat and fish, that are rich in umami, one of the five basic tastes. If you can get past your prejudices, Atkin says, a world of flavours awaits.

'Make mine a vermouth' is not something you hear often in 2010, says Susy Atkins. But as is the way of things, some of these oddities are gently swinging back into fashion. Vermouth is, essentially, an oak-aged, fortified white wine, somewhat oxidised in the manner of most sherries, and with herbs and spices soaked in it to add bitter flavours. If you want really bitter, Atkins suggests buying Campari, which is officially a 'bitters', not a vermouth. Or alternatively head to Frank's pop-up café and Campari bar in Peckham, south London, for the next few weeks. It's on the 10th floor of a multistorey car park - you can't get more modern than that.

Now is the time when holidaymakers on the great trek home from their holiday are wondering where to get hold of that rosé that imbued the hols with such a glow, says Anthony Rose. If you do manage to locate your wine here, it won't be so easy to re-create that special atmosphere, he says, as much of the enjoyment is down to the ambience. Take Pastis, Rose can't get enough of it in the South of France. Back home, he can leave it. One delicious rosé he tasted recently was the Domaine Sainte Lucie MiP, Made in Provence Classic Rosé, 2009 (£6.95, Lea & Sandeman).

Financial Times
Ambitious sparkling wines the world over are invariably measured against Champagne, says Andrew Jefford. Which he adds "is understandable, but unfortunate." It's comparitive to all red wines modeling themselves on Burgundy. No sparkling wine suffers more from Champagne's benchmark than Spain's cava. "We are always the poor brother of Champagne," says Ton Mata of Recaredo. "It is possible to produce great Cava, but it has to be great in a very different way from Champagne. Sometimes we get a little bit sad because nobody believes that Cava can be great." In Jefford's opinion, the greatest Cavas are all produced from later-ripening local varieties, such as Xarello and Macabeo. Will recognition come for fine Cava? Soon, perhaps, though consumers must be ready to pay Champagne prices for it.