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Wines in the press - March 18-21

Published:  21 March, 2011

The Guardian
With all those three-for-a-tenner promotions on every supermarket shelf, it's easy to forget what a great wine-producing nation Australia is, says Fiona Beckett.

Her advice is to ignore its cheap Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and instead try an aged Semillon, zesty, lime-laced Riesling and fresh, quaffable Verdelho, all of which go well with the Asian-influenced food. She recommends De Bortoli DB Selection Verdelho 2009 (£6.49, Waitrose) and Asda Clare Valley Riesling 2008 (£8.98) that she says are both reasonably priced and good with Thai food. Then - surprisingly - there's Australian Pinot Noir - the most exciting in Beckett's opinion are from the Mornington Peninsula. She recommends Yabby Lake 2008 Pinot Noir (£24.05,

The Telegraph

If you've wandered into an Oddbins shop recently and thought it looked disappointingly tired and droopy, the reason why became clear last week with the announcement that it was closing 39 of its 128 shops, says Victoria Moore. It's also laid off a quarter of its head office staff and entered into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). "All that snow before Christmas. It was a complete whack around the head. Most high-street retailers got slapped, but in some of our stores the takings were 50% down," owner Simon Baile told Moore. Moore adds, then there's the question of whether a company that owes,£241,583.09 to Concha y Toro UK alone, will be able to buy any wine to sell. But Moore adds she hopes Oddbins is still here for her to write about in a year's time.

The Independent

The climate has been kind to the Rhône valley in recent years, with a series of good to excellent vintages in both cooler north and sunny south, says Anthony Rose. The first 2010s he tasted this month seem endowed with the perfect balance of fruit and freshness. He recommends its whites as being increasingly excellent, and suggests the Saint Péray, Les Vins de Vienne 2009, (£13.99, The best value in the northern Rhône is usually to be found in Crozes Hermitage reds made of pure Syrah. A mature example, perfect now with pink-roasted lamb or rose veal, is the "delightfully spicy" Crozes Hermitage Rouge, Terre d'Eclat, Domaine de la Ville Rouge, 2007 (£15.95, Jeroboams) shops.

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW is talking about the rising investment into English vineyards. But as the price of English sparkling wine can vary from around £13 to almost £40 a bottle she says it will have to deliver more pleasure if it is to thrive commercially." Stephen Skelton MW, organised a recent blind tasting of 58 sparkling wines of which 52 were English. It was pretty obvious which were the four Champagnes as they tended to be a bit more complex and less obviously tart than the English wines, says Robinson. "That said, there were certainly some very winning English wines and the best were well made with great vivacity." In fact, the only wine to which she gave a score of 17 out of 20 was English Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2006. Five of the eight wines from RidgeView, and all four Champagnes including Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial, were included in the 15 wines she scored 16 or above.

The Mail on Sunday

The realisation that heartburn has once again snuck up on you to boil your guts is an uncomfortable, daunting and downright depressing state of affairs, says Olly Smith. If wine is a contributing factor, think carefully before buying your next bottle. Smith thinks poor-quality vino can't help, or grape varieties that have a natural sharpness, such as Sauvignon Blanc. Among reds, Barbera from Italy and Pinot Noir are wines that you should probably steer clear of. But there are plenty you can explore, one region is the Rhône Valley where grape varieties such as; Marsanne, Roussanne and even Viognier tend to be round and supple. Alsace is also a place in France to look at more luscious fruity wine styles. And for reds Grenache/Garnacha and Merlot are good bets, he says. "Indeed, curing heartburn seems to me a magnificent reason to taste some new grape varieties that you haven't tried before. Go on, have a rummage."