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Wines in the press - June 30 - July 3

Published:  05 July, 2011

The Guardian
July marks the official start of the barbie season, which for wine hacks usually means the obligatory article on California wine, says Fiona Beckett.

But she's never been convinced that Echo Falls, pricey Cabernet Sauvignons or killer, 14.5%-plus Zinfandels are the way to go. Chilean and Argentine reds rock Beckett's boat more and are generally a fair bit cheaper. One of her top finds this summer has been the 2009 Malbrontes Bodegas Mauricio Lorca Malbec Torrontes (£8.45, Berry Bros & Rudd). "It's full of gorgeous, ripe fruit, with the Torrontes adding just a hint of floral fragrance", she adds. For fish or veg-centred barbecues, Beckett prefers a zippy white such as Vignobles des Aubas Colombard Gros Manseng Côtes du Gascogne 2010 (£6.99, Majestic).

The Observer

According to David Williams, three wines that are perfect for summer are; Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Awatere Valley Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand 2010 (£8.99, Sainsbury's) . He says the most Germanic of grapes, Riesling, is thriving Down Under and this white shows how well it works in Marlborough, the heart of New Zealand's sauvignon blanc country. The Les Complices de Loire "Les Graviers" Chinon, Loire, France 2009 (£10.44, Waitrose) "is the summer red wine par excellence, aromatic, light in alcohol and with a beguiling snap to the succulent berry fruit". Lastly, Château Clément-Termes Mémoire Blanc, Gaillac, France 2009 (£9.66, Underwood) is a wine for all seasons, says Williams and combines rich and creamy depths with plenty of cleansing acidity.

The Sunday Telegraph

Susy Atkins is interested to see cheaper Champagnes getting gold at this year's International Wine Challenge - the Co-op's excellent Les Pionniers 2004 and Asda's rich Extra Special Vintage 2002 among them, both around £20.
But even £20 is quite a spend, she adds, especially if you're planning to pour for a crowd. Instead she suggests, a Cava from Spain, or Prosecco from Italy, a quality Crémant from other regions of France, or a fruit-forward, toasty New World sparklers from New Zealand, Australia or Chile. This week Atkins names two from Majestic, which is her opinion the best large chain for good-value bubbles. She recommends Lindauer Special Reserve Blanc de Blancs NV, New Zealand (Majestic, £8.99, down to £7.99 until 18 July) and Gratien & Meyer Saumur Brut NV, France (Majestic, £8.99), if you like fizz with a tangy, crisp edge.

The Daily Telegraph

Victoria Moore meets Francis Ford Coppola selling not his films but his Napa Valley wines. He has just poached winemaker, Philippe Bascaules from Chateau Margaux in Bordeaux and shelled out a small to buy back the Inglenook name that was attached to the estate in its heyday. Coppola has two winery operations: one, in Sonoma, that makes "unashamedly commercial stuff" and which funds his film projects. The second makes the "posh stuff", which Moore and Coppola are drinking. Coppola says he hired Bordeaux consultant Stephane Derenoncourt, who told him, "A winemaker is like a cook. You taste the food, it tastes good, that's it", it was the catalyst for a gradual regime change. Moore says you can certainly taste it in the Cabernet-Sauvignon-based Rubicon; "the 2005 is big, powerful, all-American, while the as yet unreleased 2008 is tighter, with more Old World influence".

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW, is looking at restaurant wine lists. There is such a well-established nucleus of specialists in supplying what is known as the "on-trade" that she finds she can see immediately on a wine list who the dominant supplier is. Robinson is not impressed by very long or very thick wine lists, as they can take an age to wade through. Another long-overdue development is the increase in wines available by the glass or carafe. She suspects for most diners, the most sensible way to present a reasonably small collection is to list by colour and then upwards by price. "Most people know far more about how much they want to spend than about where each wine comes from."