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Wines in the press, April 1-3

Published:  04 April, 2011

The Guardian

The huge popularity of Rioja in the UK must be incredibly frustrating to red wine producers in other Spanish regions that produce wines from the same grape, Tempranillo, or variants thereof, says Fiona Beckett.

The huge popularity of Rioja in the UK must be incredibly frustrating to red wine producers in other Spanish regions that produce wines from the same grape, Tempranillo, or variants thereof, says Fiona Beckett.

She adds there's a lot of exciting wine being made in Spain, as well as some bargains. For a basic red she recommends Utiel-Requena's Toro Loco Tempranillo 2009 (£3.49 Aldi). The Wine Society also has a surprisingly wide selection under £7, including Laderas de El Sequé 2009, a Monastrell from Alicante (£6.95). Beckett says adventurous wine drinkers in the Hampshire/Berkshire area might like to head for Caviste of Overton, Odiham and Hungerford to try the Bodegas Forjas del Salnes Bastion de la Luna 2009 Rias Baixas (£17.50). Admittedly, the names of many of these modern Spanish reds are harder to remember, she says, but they pair better with contemporary food especially fish and vegetables, than traditional Spanish styles with their extended barrel- and bottle-ageing.

The Daily Telegraph

Victoria Moore is convinced the more wine under screw cap and cork she tastes, the more she thinks the closure can have impact on the organoleptic properties of a wine than the place in which it is made. Terroir can be overshadowed by the effect of whatever you find at the top of the bottleneck, she adds. Her view is that a large number of aromatic whites with screw caps are slightly reduced and it's a phenomenon that's largely brushed aside. Moore tasted the Casa Silva Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2010, blind under screw cap and cork with two wine colleagues. They preferred the second wine with the cork. She admits a sample of one wine is not enough to say which is the "best" closure, but Moore thinks it makes the point that it does make a substantial difference.

The Financial Times

Having tasted a wide range of 2001 Bordeaux, Jancis Robinson MW has two words of advice; 'buy Sauternes.' She adds that those who bought 2001 red Bordeaux en primeur should also feel quite pleased. A recent tasting of nearly 60 significant 2001s organised in London by Bordeaux Index confirmed that 2001 is generally much better than 2002 and can, in some instances, show better than the equivalent 2000. Robinson adds the reds may be less dense than the 2000s, but most are "beautifully balanced with an appetising kick on the finish". One of the best bargains Robinson recommends is Ch Beauséjour Duffau (Lagarrosse) 2001 St-Émilion which can be found for £300-£400 a dozen.

The Daily Mail

Sweet wines, or 'stickies', as they're known in the trade, have a few diehard fans, but Olly Smith believes that legions of undiscovered fans are waiting in the wings. A good-value sticky such as the mellow Brown Brothers Orange Muscat and Flora from Australia is great fun as an aperitif over crushed ice. If you think sweet wines such as Asti Spumante are unfashionable, think again, he adds. The sparkling sweet wines of Asti are low in alcohol and, served chilled in the garden with a fruit salad, are a guaranteed winner with guests after a meal. And how about German stickies? The sweet wines of Germany are well worth exploring - look for Beerenauslese or the highly prized and even more intense Trockenbeerenauslese. He recommends Dr Loosen Riesling Beerenauslese 2006 (Majestic £10.99).

The Sunday Telegraph

Judging by what she has tasted lately - Susy Atkins says South African reds provide many of the best bargains on our wine shelves. Sure, there are other strong contenders (Languedoc, Sicily, Chile, Spain), she adds, but she's seen enough great-value Cape reds in the £6 to £10 price bracket so far this year to give it a special Sauce column gong. In her opinion there's a juicy, plump, ripe quality to its Pinotage, a peppery intensity to its Shiraz and a well-balanced complexity to the country's Bordeaux-style blends. Atkins thinks you can almost taste the heat of the sun in the wines made in warm-climate spots like Stellenbosch, and says there are the hallmarks of craftsmanship coming from a new generation of winemakers which wasn't the case 10 years ago. She recommends
Tesco Finest Beyers Truter Pinotage 2009 (£5.25).