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Wines in the press - February 4-6

Published:  08 February, 2011

The Guardian

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc finds itself in the price war zone of wine retailing, says Fiona Beckett.

Regularly discounted to around £5 a bottle, it's a far cry from the days when it automatically commanded a premium. Beckett adds, you wonder how a bottle that travels so far and sells for so little can be any good? Given that tax and duty on a £4.99 wine now amounts to £2.52 (according App - UK Wine Tax Calculator). Beckett enlisted the help of four friends to see if they could spot two circa £5 bottles in a blind tasting. She slipped in the Rose Creek Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 (£5.99 at Lidl, now on 2010 vintage) and Freeman's Bay Sauvignon 2010 (£5.49, Aldi). Hidden in there was also a bottle of Cloudy Bay, which retails for three to four times as much. "And you know what?" Says Beckett "None of them spotted it, and two liked the cheapies best."

But the one bottle that they actually finished off after the tasting, which Beckett says is always a telling sign, is quite a bit more expensive and is made by Kevin Judd, ex-winemaker of Cloudy Bay, was the Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (£13.50, The Wine Society) which she says has "a lovely mineral streak".

The Telegraph

Mark Hughes, former head of wines beers and spirits at Safeway, met Victoria Moore at his new business, the Real Wine Company, which he says operates from "just a Portokabin". Hughes kept sending her bottles of wine that "kept on being surprisingly good". Moore adds it was wine you wanted to go back to, "like an old friend whose company is always easy, but always pleasing too". Hughes explained he'd he gone into wine because he'd loved it, but realised he wasn't happy selling large volumes cheaper wines. So he resigned from the day job and registered the Real Wine Company - "I kept on talking about real wine instead of all this industrial stuff so the name was easy," he says. Moore says, she doesn't like all of his wines, "but his hit rate is high". She recommends Torreguaceto Pietraluna Negroamaro del Salento 2009 (£7.49).

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW, says Spanish wine may have been riding the crest of a fashionable gastronomic wave, but Portugal has more to offer the discriminating wine drinker with its "dazzling array" of high-quality vine varieties, rarely found elsewhere. For instance, she says, Touriga Nacional, does not seem to be related to any non-Portuguese variety and is grown over 7,000 hectares across Portugal. Robinson adds such is the singularity and quality of Portugal's own varieties that the country has remained impervious to the wave of Cabernet- and Chardonnay-mania. There are only just over 2,000 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon in the entire country and fewer than 600 ha of Chardonnay. Syrah is the most planted international variety, but there are still fewer than 3,000 ha planted. Robinson recommends the more authentic Portuguese grapes such as Trincadeira/Tinta Amarela, Baga, Touriga Franca or Alfrocheiro Preto among reds and the distinctive white wine grapes Arinto, Síria/Roupeiro, Fernão Pires/Maria Gomes.

The Daily Mail

Valentine's Day, is romantic and resistance futile, says Olly Smith. "Smith even proposed to his wife on Valentine's Day, popping open some fizz on her return from work. This year he says he is backing a dose of pink fizz with which to woo. The English produced, Hush Heath Balfour Brut Rosé 2006 is a wine that Smith has listed on board Azura and in his wine bar the Glass House. "It goes down a treat with my customers." He adds Cornish winery Camel Valley is producing a "delicious" Cornwall' Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 2009 ( and Nyetimber in Sussex releasing its new Nyetimber Rosé 2007 (£35.70). Or you could turn to Cava for your kicks, says Smith and recommends Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Vintage Cava Rosé 2008 (£6.99).