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Wines in the press, June 17-19

Published:  21 June, 2011

The Guardian
There's something about summer that suspends one's critical faculties, says Fiona Beckett.

Suddenly, popping a couple of ice cubes into a fruity red, or weedy white seems like perfect summer drinking. Sweet sparklers such as Moscato d'Asti - Cerutti's honeysuckle-sweet Suri Sandrinet Moscato d'Asti 2010 (£11.75, Berry Bros & Rudd) are a current favourite of Beckett's. In addition she suggests Sainsbury's, Brachetto d'Aqui 2010 in its Taste the Difference range (£5.99) and cooler still is Innocent Bystander's Pink Moscato 2010 (£6.30,

For summer drinking, Beckett "loves" the off-dry Cornish Polgoon Aval Raspberry Cider (7%), which she came across at Marcus Wareing's, The Gilbert Scott at St Pancras. It's not cheap at around £11.99-£13.99 a bottle (Bottle Bank in Falmouth), but what's great about all these bottles is that they're really low in alcohol, says Becektt. They're just fun, fizzy and frankly delicious, she adds.

The Observer

Over the years, David Williams has had a troubled relationship with English wines. No other country has provided so many candidates for my list of all-time worst bottles, and nowhere else has commanded such a high average price per unit of pleasure, he says. Yet he's continued to believe in English wine. The hit rate may have been low, he adds, but there were always bottles that proved it was possible to make good, maybe even great, wine in the damp and chill of England. And the proportion is increasing. Exports of English wine may be almost non-existent for the time being, but French producers, particularly those in Champagne, are certainly impressed by the quality produced by top English estates such as Nyetimber and Ridgeview in Sussex and Camel Valley in Cornwall, that they are looking to buy land in southern England. Williams recommends: Ridgeview Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs, East Sussex 2007 (£23.95, Berry Bros & Rudd).

The Telegraph

There are some wines, says Victoria Moore, whose taste and smell seem so imprinted with the landscape and the dirt in which the vines grew that it picks up your imagination and carries it there. These are wines I long to drink, says Victoria Moore. It differentiates proper wine from a drink we may as well call a grape-based alcopop, she adds. Yet Moore was so impressed when she opened a bottle of French red costing £5.95 the other day that smelt of dry pumice and Mediterranean heat and which took her back to Gordes in the Luberon in Provence. It was called Notre Dame de Cousignac 2009 Luberon ( £5.95, The Wine Society). By the end of the evening she was squabbling over the dregs. "It was also something to do with the magical X-factor: a sense of place. Not Preston railway station. Not a car park in Lille. Not a wine factory in Anywheresville churning out fruity, varietally correct bottles. But a hillside in Provence," she says.

The Financial Times
Jancis Robinson MW was invited out to dinner by Francis Ford Coppola. Today Coppola has two very different wine operations: the upmarket Napa Valley estate and the thoroughly mainstream wine blender, bottler and "wine wonderland" tourist destination on the old Souverain site in Sonoma. "I don't want to drink great wine every night," he told Robinson and explainined that the Sonoma operation will bankroll the serious investment he expects to make to the old Inglenook winery buildings. It was the 1958 Inglenook Cabernet, that was the real star of the evening for Robinson. At just 12.5% alcohol "it was the best 1958 I have ever tasted".

The Mail

Wines can give you a similar thrill of chomping on a fresh punnet of strawberries, if you know what to look for. Chilled whites are a delight to sip in the sunshine, but Smith says, is also a huge fan of the glories of lighter juicy red wines with that summer-berry tang such as Pinot Noir. He suggests Taste The Difference Penguin Sands Pinot Noir 2009, Otago, New Zealand, (Sainsbury's £9.99). Smith says Italy, too, has a wealth of lighter reds to consider, from good-value Nero d'Avola from Sicily through to "sensational" Dolcetto from the north. He suggests having some light, tangy Italian Barbera, such as Asda Extra Special Barbera d'Asti 2009 (£7.48). But if you haven't tried them, do have a crack at a Beaujolais Cru, and go for a 2009 or 2010 vintage - there's never been a better time to sample them while they're still affordable, he says.