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Wines in the press - August 5-7

Published:  09 August, 2011

The Guardian
Fiona Beckett has been drinking, Vinho Verde - the light, slightly fizzy and low in alcohol Portuguese wine, which she says is just what you want on a hot summer's day, assuming we ever get one.

The wines are generally blended from local grapes - classic examples are the Adega de Monção Vinho Verde 2010 (£5.95, Wine Society) made from Alvarinho and Trajadura and, the slightly softer, but "terrific value" Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2010 (£6.50 the Wine Society), made from Loureiro and Pedernã. Beckett says more intriguing still are reds made from the Vinhão grape. She recommends the bitter cherry-flavoured, biodynamic, Afros Vinho Verde Vinhao Tinto 2009 (£10.68, Caves de Pyrène).

The Sunday Telegraph

Jo Hilditch, a farmer from Hereford, was sipping a kir, après-ski, in France when she had her light-bulb moment which was to make her own Cassis from her blackcurrant stock, says Susy Atkins. Although she liked French crème de cassis, she found it a little sweet and decided to add less sugar to her own. That was in 2005. She now makes 10,000 bottles a year. Atkins says Jo's British cassis is indeed fresher, even sharper, than the Dijon version, which seems apt given the snappier climate of Herefordshire. It's also 13% abv, so, mixed with spirits or softer stuff, this is one 'squash' for the grown-ups only. Jo Hilditch British Cassis, Hereford (Fortnum & Mason, Tanners Wines,, £12.50).

The Daily Telegraph

Over lunch, two wine importers, a sommelier and Victoria Moore - could agree on only one thing; what they were buying to drink at home. It consisted of a fridge full of light, refreshing whites, nothing costing more than a tenner and includes Picpoul de Pinet, Muscadet, Vermentino and Petillant Vinho Verde. "When friends come round in summer, you want to offer them a drink they can drink, not chew, which rules out oaked whites and fat Chardonnays straight away", says Moore. Muscadet and Picpoul, are as gentle as English summer rain and have some of the outdoorsy hints of cold stone you would find in a beaker of water taken from a clean moorland stream, along with just a hint of salinity, she says. She recommends Tesco Finest Picpoul de Pinet 2010 France (£7.29).

The Independent

Anthony Rose is used to the sardonic nudge and wink from foreigners regarding English wines. His response is to mention its burgeoning sparkling wine industry and how our green and pleasant land actually is the new Jerusalem for fizz. Recommendations are; Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut Rosé 2006, (£34.99-£42.94, Waitrose), which Rose says is one of England's finest sparkling rosés. Another "excellent" newcomer is the Coates & Seely Rosé Brut Britagne NV, (£29.99, Lea & Sandeman), he says. Christian Seely, has chosen the name Britagne in an attempt to get the name accepted as a term for Champagne-method English sparkling wine. Ridgeview's, Mike Roberts wants the name Merret after the Gloucestershire doctor who, in a paper to The Royal Society in 1662, wrote about "wines brisk and sparkling", before even the supposed 'inventor' of Champagne, Dom Pérignon.

The Financial Times

France's wines cannot but be complex, due to its geological youth and latitude, says Andrew Jefford. Nowhere is this more evident than in Roussillon, he adds. The dry wines of the Côte Vermeille, or "ruby coast" fascinate Jefford because they are so different from those produced in other parts of Roussillon. Wines from the Agly Valley to the north produces powerful, stone-drenched, tannin-laden reds and herbal whites: from Mas Amiel, Calvet-Thunevin, Clos des Fées, Fontanel, Gardiés and Gauby. The mineral ferocity of the best Agly wines sometimes makes them a challenge to drink, but their force and authority is never less than remarkable, he says.